AFC – BANGKOK, Defending champions Mes Sungun Varzeqan and AGMK FC will both have a point to prove when they face off in the semi-finals of the AFC Futsal Club Championship Thailand 2019 on Thursday.
Mes Sungun were defeated 3-2 by Nagoya Oceans in their group stage meeting – the first loss the Islamic Republic of Iran side have suffered over two editions of the AFC Futsal Club Championship – and they are desperate to retain the title to make up for that loss.
AGMK have another reason in wanting to extend their campaign – this is the first time the Uzbekistan club have advanced to the knockout stage in four appearances and they want their dream run to continue.
An extended run didn’t look possible for AGMK when they began their campaign with a 4-1 defeat to Thai Son Nam, but the Central Asians bounced back in style to shock Iraq Al Wasat 5-3.
They have grown in strength, as shown in the 4-3 win over home side Port FC in the quarter-finals on Wednesday, and AGMK head coach Aleksandr Petrov praised his side’s resilience.
“I’m really happy with the way my team has been playing.
“Mes Sungun is one of the best teams in Asia and we will study their performances closely and will try our best to win the game,” said Petrov.
The mercurial Mahdi Javid said Mes Sungun have no intention of tripping in their bid to win back-to-back title.
“AGMK are a strong side but we must play hard tomorrow because we have just one goal in the competition and that is to become champions again,” said the 2018 Most Valuable Player.
“Nothing else is more important than winning the title for the second time. We must fight and win tomorrow’s match and reach the final.”
Javid, with four goals to his name, will lead Mes Sungun’s charge together with Farhad Fakhim who also has hit the back of the net four times.
They proved their worth in the quarter-final against Bank of Beirut, with Javid scoring Mes Sungun’s equaliser with just two minutes remaining on the clock and Fakhim notching the winner in extra time and both will be eager to deliver against AGMK.