Lekhwiya gunning for all three points against Bunyodkor
Tashkent: Coach Djamal Belmadi has played down the absence of suspended Spanish defender Chico Flores for Wednesday’s meeting with Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor as Qatar’s Lekhwiya seek to close in on a place in the last 16 of the AFC Champions League at Bunyodkor Stadium.
Second place Lekhwiya are currently three points off the pace in Group B heading into the penultimate round of fixtures, but Belmadi’s side will advance if a win over Bunyodkor is coupled with Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr losing to table-topping Zobahan from Iran.
Lekhwiya crucially recorded a 4-0 win over Al Nassr earlier this month to claim the potentially crucial head-to-head advantage, although Belmadi will be without Flores (pictured) against a Bunyodkor side who are fighting to remain in the qualification picture.
“We will play against a strong team tomorrow. It is always difficult to play with Uzbek clubs. We haven’t lost in the last three matches and we will try to continue this run,” said Belmadi.
“We have finished season in the Qatar Stars League, but we have two more cup competitions in Qatar which means we will play more matches, but my team will have no problem to prepare for home match with Bunyodkor.
“We have only conceded two goals in this tournament and Bunyodkor has to play for victory at home, but we have no such responsibility, maybe we will see many goals tomorrow.
“Chico Flores can`t play against Bunyodkor, but I think it won`t be problem for us.”
Two-time semi-finalists Bunyodkor failed to qualify for the last 16 for the first time in eight attempts last year and Sergey Lushchan’s side will fall short again this year should Al Nassr beat Zobahan.
Bunyodkor have yet to record a win in Group B this year and currently sit three points behind Al Nassr and Lekhwiya.