FC Krylia Sovetov Samara target victory in Lunar New Year AET Cup
Samara are serious as they field internationals to steal honours in four-team tournament
Russian Super League side FC Krylia Sovetov Samara arrived in Hong Kong yesterday with one thing on their minds - winning the Lunar New Year AET Cup.
But three teams - FC Tokyo from Japan, Portuguese Super League side S.C. Olhanense and the hosts Citizen Cuenca United - are in the way.
Star midfielder Igor Semshov leads the 24-member squad for Samara. Semshov, a national team member for 10 years, was part of the Russian side who lost to Spain in the Euro 2008 semi-finals.
Samara will also field three internationals: goalkeeper Siarhei Veremko and forward Sergey Kornilenko, both of Belarus, and Paraguay's Luis Caballero.
Samara are confident of winning in Hong Kong.
"We have come here to win," said coach Aleksandr Tsygankov.
"We want to improve our form through playing against teams of different styles in this tournament before we start the season again in March after the winter break. That's why we are very serious here."
The Russians are famed for their mechanical and efficient style, but Tsygankov remained tight-lipped on their game plan for when they face Citizen Cuenca United at the Hong Kong Stadium tomorrow.
"Our tactics will only be revealed on the pitch, but I can assure you we will play beautiful soccer to entertain fans," he said.
Citizen's executive director of Calvin Pui Ho-wang said club honour was at stake.
"We don't have too many chances like this as a small club," he said. "But we want to prove we are also capable of pulling off great results against overseas teams, especially with the support of the home fans."
Pui said the team had been strengthened with the addition of players from Ecuador Serie A side Cuenca. At least five of them are in the starting line-up for the first match. But Cuenca goalkeeper Cristian Mora, who played for Ecuador in all four matches at the 2006 World Cup finals, will start on the second day.
Tomorrow's fixture will also see J.League side FC Tokyo up against Portuguese Super League team S.C. Olhanense. The winners will play in Monday's final and the champions will walk away with prize money of US$80,000, while the losers will be in a play-off for third place.