Mizuno fancies chances of slaying Warriors
Ex-Albirex midfielder, now playing for Cambodian side, believes players from both sides are of the same level
|WARRIORS FC||BOEUNG KET ANGKOR FC|
Cambodian league champions Boeung Ket Angkor FC may be making a return to the RHB Singapore Cup after a four-year hiatus.
But their Japanese midfielder Hikaru Mizuno believes they stand a good chance of beating nine-time S.League champions Warriors FC in the knockout competition tonight.
Mizuno, who had previously played for S.League giants Albirex Niigata, feels that there is not much difference between local players from both sides.
"(Having played on both sides,) I think Cambodian and Singaporean players are of the same level," said the 25-year-old yesterday, before a training session at the Toa Payoh Stadium.
"We have a real chance against the Warriors."
This is the second time Boeung Ket, who are fifth in the 12-team Cambodian league, are playing in the RHB Singapore Cup.
Their debut was in 2013, when they lost 4-1 to Tanjong Pagar United in the first round.
Mizuno's confidence might have stemmed from having previously scored in Albirex's 6-0 mauling of the Warriors in 2015.
That year, he made 22 appearances for the Japanese side and scored two goals.
Boeung Ket coach Hao Socheat was more diplomatic.
He said: "I'd say we have around a 50 per cent chance to win the game.
“Cambodian and Singaporean players are of the same level.”Boeung Ket’s Hikaru Mizuno
"I've seen the Warriors play.They are very physical, and their midfielders and strikers are very good."
Uppermost on his mind will be the containment of a "dangerous" Warriors winger Jordan Webb, alongside Joel Tshibamba, Shahril Ishak and Hafiz Nor.
But his defensive line-up is less than ideal, with two young defenders replacing experienced regulars who are injured.
Said the 38-year-old coach: "(They are not) my first-choice defenders.
"But, they are acceptable. Though they are young (both 19), they have a strong willingness to play."
Socheat, however, said he has a good goalkeeper and is banking on his team's counter-attacking ability to hit the Warriors' Achilles heel.
"The Warriors' weakness is that they focus too much on attacking. When they have to defend, their transition is slow," he said.
"We have a few good foreign players who are quick, especially in the midfield."