07-10-2007 10:33

Bahrain and co-hosts Indonesia will face each other in the opening match in Group D on Tuesday. While Indonesia are hoping that home support will help them through this tough encounter, Bahrain are trying to bounce back from their recent run of poor performances.

Indonesia seem to be taking some extra motivation from fellow co-hosts Vietnam and Thailand, who started their Asian Cup journey with a win and a draw.

Seeing the large turnout at their final training session one day before the opener in Jakarta, the hosts can anticipate enough local support.

Indonesia are by no means big favorites in the tournament, but coach Ivan Kolev doesn't believe his side is too far behind the Asian giants. He said his squad's best chance to progress to its first-ever quarter-finals has come.

Bahrain finished a surprising fourth at the last Asian Cup three years ago, but their exit from the World Cup qualifying playoff and poor form in the Gulf Cup seem to worry coach Milan Macala, who took over only last month.

The Czech said his preparations have not been helped by his short time on the job, but they still hold firm the goal of reaching the knockout stage.


Editor:Liu Fang