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AFC Cup Semifinal Preview: East Bengal vs Kuwait SC

International Business Times UK

Away goals - two of them - will be what East Bengal will look to capitalise on as the Kolkata team look to make history on Tuesday when they face Kuwait SC in the second leg of the AFC Cup semifinals.

East Bengal could be the first side from the I-League to make the AFC Cup final, if they can top Kuwait SC on aggregate - the away side hold a crucial 4-2 lead going into the second leg.

The task of winning by two goals in Kolkata is far from easy, with Kuwait SC the current champions of the competition, and gunning for their third overall AFC Cup title.

However, football is the perfect sport for upsets and with a raucous crowd expected, East Bengal can go into the second leg with pretty much nothing to lose, having done so well in the first place just to reach the last-four.

Holding the side's defensive shape and taking advantage of counterattacks could be the best way to try and find a way past Kuwait FC, according to East Bengal striker James Moga, one of three African-born players expected to start for the Kolkata giants on Tuesday.

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"Kuwait SC are tactically and technically ahead," he told the Telegraph. "We have to play intelligently to counter their threat. Perhaps rely on counterattacks. We know we can't let in any more goals. So we have to balance our style of play. I haven't been playing at my best so far this season and have to make amends."

With the game being played on the artificial turf at the Salt Lake Stadium, it could cause a few problems for the Kuwait SC players, who are not familiar with playing on such a surface.

"We are not used to playing on this sort of surface," media manager Tamer Abdel said. "We have to get used to the conditions.

"Both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are tough opponents. But on current form, East Bengal seem to be way ahead," added Abdel, whose side defeated Mohun Bagan in the AFC Cup in 2009.

Where to watch

The match is scheduled for a 4 p.m. (IST) start with live coverage on Star Sports.

Expected lineups: East Bengal: Mondal, Naoba Singh, Okpara, Mondal, Dey; Lobo, Hossain, Abranches, Ralte; Chidi, Moga.

Kuwait SC: Alkandari; Al Taher, Ali Baba, Hakem, Al Ateeqi; Al Shereedah, Ali, Hammami, Al Buraiki; Rogerinho, Jemaa.

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