AFC – YOGYAKARTA, Favourites Mes Sungun Varzaghan will face a menacing Nafit Al Wasat in the semi-finals of the AFC Futsal Club Championship Indonesia 2018 on Friday.
Nafit Al Wasat (IRQ)
Goals conceded: 9
Top scorer: Farhad Tavakoli Roozbahani (6 goals)
The Iraqi side advanced into the Knockout Stage after finishing top of Group B following wins over Thai Son Nam (4-3) and Korea Republic’s Jeonju MAG (6-1). The Iraq club’s only setback came in their 1-1 draw against United Arab Emitares’ Al Dhafra in their opener.
Nafit’s strength is their resilience to fight back when backed into a corner.
Pegged as darkhorses to win the tournament, Nafit almost lifted the title in 2016 but fell just short against Japan’s Nagoya Oceans, losing 6-5 on penalties after the match ended 4-4. In 2015 at Isfahan, Nafit finished fourth losing, 7-4 to Thai Son Nam of Vietnam.
Head coach Head coach Haitham Abbas Bawei said: “The Iran team are such strong favourites, they are a special team and their players are well known in Asia, but we will have a special plan for them on Friday.”
Mes Sungun Varzaghan (IRN)
Goals scored: 29
Goals conceded: 7
Top scorer: Hossein Tayebibidgoli (7 goals)
The Central Asians have breezed through the tournament, having scored a staggering 29 goals with a perfect record but Nafit will be a real test for the Islamic Republic of Iran side.
Mes Sungun, though, are genuine contenders for the title as they showed in the 8-3 win over FC EREM in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
While they may be making their tournament debut, their star players are not as Mes Sungun have one of the most feared attacking force in the form of Hossein Tayebibidgoli and Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh.
Tayebibidgoli was the top scorer at the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship in Chinese Taipei while Hassanzadeh has won numerous MVP titles and is a three-time AFC Futsal Player of the Year.
Both are no strangers to the competition as they have featured in previous editions with Giti Pasand Isfahan and Tasisat Daryaei.
Head coach Hamid Bigham Tabrizi said: “Nafit are a resilient side, with a very good coach. Most of them play for the Iraq national side, we are familiar with their style of play and we are confident of achieving a good result.”