After an unusually disappointing result obtained by Benfica Macau in Pyongyang on April 11, losing 0-8 against North Korean champion 4.25 Sports Club, the local team is looking to “change that image” in today’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup’s group stage match. Benfica wants to “show that the team and its players have enough skills to do much better,” the head coach, Bernardo Tavares said yesterday at the pre-match press conference at the Macau Olympic Stadium in Taipa.
“What we have been trying to do is to play each match by giving our best and to collect as many points as possible,” Tavares said. The coach stated that the team’s current challenge is to play among the best in Asian football, “one match at one time” and “with no expectations beyond tomorrow’s [today’s] match.”
The head coach also explained that it is because of this philosophy that they received such a heavy result in North Korea. “Maybe another team losing 2-0 at break time would just try to manage the result and not get more goals, but we didn’t, we fought as much as we could and tried to score and maybe that’s why we got to that result (8-0),” said the head coach.
For today’s fixture, Tavares said that the main aim is, “to give dignity not only to Benfica Macau but also to the football we play here [in Macau]. It’s a ‘nice picture’ that we want to leave and not the one left by the last game in North Korea.”
“We want to give a good image of our team, match after match. Of our players, but also of Macau football,” Benfica’s coach remarked.
Commenting on the difficulties expected for the game, Tavares has no doubt that playing against teams like 4.25 Sports Club, which have more skills, more experience and more resources than Benfica Macau, is what makes the local team and players grow.
“It’s by playing against these teams that we can grow and develop,” he said, noting, “this will eventually be very good for us […]. I know that all players that saw that happening, they learned a lot and we want to be in together with the best.”
For the match against the North Korean team, coach Tavares also noted that the team continued to have several problems with injured players that will influence the choice for the 11 players who will take to the pitch tonight.
“We have several doubts as there are a couple of players we know can’t play; that’s Filipe [Duarte] and Vitor [Almeida] and also there is another group that we will only know after the match warm-up and those are Cuco, Edgar [Teixeira] and [Lei] Chi Kin.” Nonetheless, Tavares noted that “I can guarantee that those that will rise to the pitch will put in 100 percent… Everybody wants to play this game.”
Tavares also called for the people of Macau to attend the match. He said it is an unique opportunity to watch football of this caliber in Macau.
4.25 SC head coach aims for the AFC cup title
AS COMFORTABLE winners in the first match played in home soil, head coach, Hwang Yong-Song of the April 25 Sports Club (4.25 SC) told the press yesterday that the team is confident for today’s match. Hwang Yong-Song said in a press conference yesterday, “We are ready for the match. It is our first time coming to Macau to play and we expect difficulties but we have had enough preparation for this match.” Questioned on whether a win in today’s match against Benfica Macau would grant the North Korean club a spot in the next stage, Hwang acknowledged, “If we win this match, we will [move] most probably into the next stage and our next goal will be to win the matches also in the next stage.” Questioned by the Times about how far the team could go in this competition, the head coach of 4.25 SC said, “it will be difficult to win the [overall] competition and to be champions, but we want that and we are aiming for that this year.”