Indonesia - August 11, 2018 09:00Ready for final day in IndonesiaGames preview by AFC.comCourtesy: The

Bank of Beirut, Nafit Al Wasat out to end on a high

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Yogyakarta: Having suffered the heartbreak of losing in the AFC Futsal Club Championship Indonesia 2018 semi-finals, Nafit Al Wasat head coach Haitam Abbas Bawei is aiming to bounce back in the third-place playoff against Lebanon’s Bank of Beirut on Sunday.

With majority of their players representing national teams, the match promises to be an explosive encounter as the two sides have met before in the quarter-finals of the 2015 edition in Isfahan with Iraqi side Nafit edging their opponents 3-2 on penalties after a 4-4 deadlock.

Most recently, Iraq came out tops in the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship quarter-finals in Chinese Taipei to win the tie 9-8 following a gruelling 20- penalty shootout after the match ended 2-2.

“At the start of the competition our plan was to make the final, like we did in 2015. But luck was not on our side and now we have to prepare ourselves for the next match against Bank of Beirut,” said Bawei.

Nafit Al Wasat progressed into the Knockout Stage as Group B winners following wins against Thai Son Nam (4-3) and Korea Republic’s Jeonju MAG (6-1). The Iraq club’s only blip came in the 1-1 draw against United Arab Emirates’ Al Dhafra in their opener.

In the quarter-finals, Nafit needed extra time to overcame Vamos FC 7-4 after a spirited fightback saw the home side take a 3-2 lead in the second half but Nafit dug deep to equalise in the final minute after conceding two goals to force extra time following a 4-4 deadlock at the end of regulation time.

“We have to forget about our last match against Mes Sungun. Now our main focus is the third and fourth placing. We have come this far and on Sunday, we are confident of finishing third.”

Mustafa Bachay Hamzah echoed his coach’s sentiments and added that Nafif will be at their best against the Lebanese club on Sunday.

“This tournament is very important to us and our players are strong, we will do our best and hopefully beat our opponents,” said Hamzah.

Beirut have bettered their previous best of reaching the quarter-finals in 2015 and 2017. The Lebanese club were impressive in the group stage where they finished second behind Mes Sungun Varzaghan.

In the quarter-finals, Beirut beat defending champions Bluewave Chonburi on Wednesday, edging them 3-2 on penalties following a 7-7 stalemate and head coach Dejan Dedovic is confident of claiming third place.

“We are still reeling from our semi-final loss against Thai Son Nam and now we will face Nafit in the third and fourth placing. Our target now is to finish third in the championship,” said Dedovic.

“We know the Iraqis very well, so there will be no surprises when we play them on Sunday. We played them many times before and we are familiar with their style of play and I hope we come out on top.”

Mouhammad Hammoud is confident of Beirut’s chances against Nafit and claims his team will come back stronger next year.

“We have a match against Nafit and hopefully we can take third position and come back next year and win the championship,” said Hammoud.

Did you know?

Nafit Al Wasat’s only appearance in a third-place playoff was against Vietnam’s Thai Son Nam in the 2015 edition at Isfahan. Nafit lost 7-3.

Courtesy: The

Thai Son Nam, Mes Sungun Varzaghan in battle for supremacy

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Yogyakarta: The AFC Futsal Club Championship Indonesia 2018 final between Thai Son Nam and Mes Sungun Varzaghan promises to be an enthralling encounter at the Gor Uny on Sunday.

While Islamic Republic of Iran’s Mes Sungun Varzaghan cruised into the final, Vietnam club Thai Son Nam had to fight to earn their place in the tournament showpiece. speaks to both teams ahead of the title showdown.

Thai Son Nam (VIE)

Goals scored: 26

Goals conceded: 15

Top scorer: Nguyen Minh Tri (5 goals)

Thai Son Nam head coach Miguel Rodrigo is hoping to inspire the club to their maiden AFC Futsal Club title.

Thai Son Nam’s route to the final was not a smooth journey following their defeat to Nafit Al Wasat in the group stage. They, however, rebounded strongly to beat Al Dhafra in their final group game to finish second.

They shocked three-time champions Nagoya Oceans 3-2 in the quarter-finals and produced a remarkable come from behind victory against Bank of Beirut in the semi-finals which Rodrigo said was down to the way he motivates his players.

“I gave my players confidence. Most coaches try to set up many attacking systems but to me, it is more simple. I have a system, I teach them many concepts, such as attacking and defending and how to react in every single situation. At the end, the players make the decision, not me,” said Rodrigo.

“Before the match I told them the story about how boxer Evander Holyfield defeated Mike Tyson in 1996 and that story inspired my players even more.

“Hence, at the start of the second half when we were trailing 2-1 against Beirut, I gestured to my starting five “remember the story” and they scored two quick goals under two minutes and we went on to win the match.

“When you give confidence to players and motivate them, they can achieve anything they want. They can be superheroes.

I’m not worried about facing Mes Sungun in the final. They should be worried about us as they will be up against superheroes.”

Nguyen Minh Tri, who has scored five goals for Thai Son Nam, was equally confident of beating Mes Sungun.

“I'm very happy to play in the final and face the Iranian team. We deserve to be in the final and I'm very proud as this is the first Vietnam club to play in the AFC Futsal Club Championship final,” said Nguyen.

"My most memorable moment is the second goal I scored against Nagoya Oceans in the quarter-finals. That goal lifted spirits and it also gave us 10 minutes of extra time where we beat them.

“I’m confident of our chances against the Iranians on Sunday and we will try our best to win. Vamos!"

Mes Sungun Varzaghan (IRN)

Goals scored: 32

Goals conceded: 9

Top scorer: Hossein Tayebibidgoli (7 goals)

Head coach Hamid Bigham Tabrizi is quietly confident that his charges can overcome a spirited Thai Son Nam and win their first Continental club title.

Mes Sungun’s performance in the competition has been impressive and the Iran club have won all their matches en route to the final.

With star players Hossein Tayebibidgoli and Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh among their ranks, the Iranians - who will appear in their first Continental club competition final - breezed through the group stages with comprehensive wins over AGMK FC, FC Sipar and Bank of Beirut.

“Iran is always under pressure to win every match and even for the match against Nafit, we felt a little pressure at first but we managed to get the job done and achieve our target,” said Tabrizi.

“Thai Son Nam is a young team with a very good coach and we have analysed how they performed in the tournament, especially against Beirut and we will have a plan on how to defeat them.”

In the quarter-finals, Mes Sungun defeated Kyrgyz Republic’s FC Erem 8-3 to book their spot in the last four. But they faced their first real test in the semi-final against Iraq’s Nafit Al Wasat.

Mes Sungun and Nafit were locked 1-1 at halftime but the Iranians scored twice in the second half and although Nafit pulled one back in the final minute, it was too late for the Iraqis as Mes Sungun walked away with the win.

Tayebibidgoli and Hassanzadeh are one of the most feared strike forces in the competition and their partnership can unlock any defence.

Hassanzadeh, a three-time AFC Futsal Player of the Year, is happy to be in the final and is confident of beating Thai Son Nam.

“The job is not done. We come here to be champions and we will try for that.

“To my fans, thank you so much for supporting us. I want you to pray for us and in the final hopefully we will be the champions,” said Hassanzadeh.

Did you know?

In 2015, Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh won the AFC Futsal Club title with Tasisat Daryaei in Isfahan, Iran.

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