Oltenia AMA were impressive in their 2009 UEFA Regions' Cup opener and now coach Sorinel Patrascu is demanding the same focus from his players as they look to make it two victories from as many matches in Group A.
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Oltenia AMA were impressive in their 2009 UEFA Regions' Cup opener and now coach Sorinel Patrascu is demanding the same focus from his players as they look to make it two wins from as many matches in Group A.
On Monday, the Romanian representatives strolled to a 2-0 victory over the first Russian side to make it to the finals, Privolzhie AMA. Oltenia return to Velika Gorica for their next fixture, against Bratislava AMA, and Patrascu is conscious his side cannot let their concentration slip, especially with only one team progressing from the section. "Every game is like a final," he said. "Like the first game, we have to be clever and play good football."
While Patrascu is asking for more of the same, Bratislava coach Ľubomír Bohúň knows his side have to win to maintain any chance of reaching Monday's final following their 2-0 loss to hosts Centre Zagreb AMA. "We will do everything to win this match," said the 55-year-old, who remains positive ahead of their do-or-die game. "We are still in the tournament – there are six points to play for so we have to win. If the Croatians slip up in their next game, anything is possible." Bohúň will be without Martin Moravčík, dismissed late on against the hosts.
That Croatian side needed two second-half Ivan Graf penalties to overcome Bohúň's men and the hosts' coach Sreten Ćuk is still cautious despite kicking off their campaign with three points, saying: "When we were looking forward to this tournament, we thought that if we beat Bratislava we'd have a chance to finish top of the group, but now we have to start again." Ćuk was also keen to shift the favourites' tag on to Oltenia, adding: "The Romanians are in the best position because they have tradition in the Regions' Cup whereas for Croatia it is our first time and they also have a wider selection base."
Like Bratislava, Privolzhie face a must-win game in only their second outing, with top place in the group securing an automatic final berth. Coach Dmitry Golubev is aware of the challenge that awaits his team. "Zagreb are the favourites," he said. "I have not seen them play but they are at home which is an advantage. Anyway, from our point of view, we have to be much better than in the first game. We will attack from the first minute because we need to win this game."