The Islanders were thrashed 3-0 in their first match.

Mumbai City will face Iraq’s Air Force Club in their second group fixture in the AFC Champions League. Des Buckingham’s side made its debut with a 0-3 defeat to Al-Shabab just a couple of days back and will be keen to erase their shortcomings come Monday evening.

Ahead of the vital clash, head coach Des Buckingham and star midfielder Lalengmawia Ralte addressed the media.

Preparations ahead of the next match

The head coach shared how his team have been preparing ahead of their second game. He said that his side have been preparing for this challenge for 3-4 weeks now.

“We’ve had less than 24 hours to recover and we’re less than 48 hours until we kickoff again. So, it’s a short turnaround, but one we’ve been preparing for the last three or four weeks. We’re looking forward to come up against another good side who picked up a fantastic result last night, but it’s a challenge that we’re ready for,” said Des Buckingham.

Positives from last game

Des Buckingham spoke about how proud he was of the way his side showed their character in the opening game. He further said that finishing is something his side need to improve in order to get the desired results. “I spoke last night about how proud I was of our players.

It was the first experience of playing at this level of competition. And the way that they went about being brave, trying to play a certain way. I felt we had good ball possession against a very good team. I felt we created good build-up from the back from the goalkeeper through midfield. 

“The one learning for us was now we need to take that into the final third to create opportunities and chances on the opposition goal. We found ourselves in really good positions, but just couldn’t quite get the output to which Al Shabab certainly did. It’s just about making sure when we get to the final third that we can capitalize on the good play,” explained Buckingham.

Thoughts on Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya

Air Force Club Iraq started their AFC Champions League campaign on a high with a win against Al Jazira and will be high on confidence when they face-off against the Islanders. Buckingham is well aware of the danger they possess and has his plans ready. 

“They’re a team that’s consistently finished first or second in their league for the last 4-5 years. And we did manage to watch the game live which is great for us. We’ve obviously dragged that off today and spent time looking to add to the work that’s already been done. And I thought was a good game last night between the two teams.

“It showed the qualities that they certainly have and we need to be mindful of. But again, it also gives us an idea as to how we want to setup. As I said, it’s not about us. I need that final third to our gameplan to make sure we can try and capitalize on it,” he signed off.

Lalengmawia’s comments

Thoughts ahead of game

The midfielder expressed his thoughts ahead of the big game and assured everyone that his side will go all-out to secure a win. “It is going to be a difficult match because they have a lot of experience of playing in the ACL. It is the second time an Indian club is playing in the AFC Champions League and it’s a great opportunity for us to show ourselves, We are going to give everything to win and we’ll give our best,” said Apuia.

How ACL will help team

Apuia shared his words on how playing against the best sides in Asia will help Mumbai City as a team when they come back to India. “It will help us a lot because experience is important in football. So, I think it will help everyone who is a part of the team. It’s a great opportunity to improve ourselves as individuals as well as a team,” he stated.

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