Ahead of their UEFA Champions League Second Round qualifier against Crvena Zvezda, KF Tirana manager Ndubuisi Egbo is drawing inspiration from the runs of French sides Paris Saint Germain and Olympique Lyon.
The Nigerian, who guided the Albanian champions to a 2-0 away win over Dinamo Tbilisi Wednesday last, will try the Serbian champions for size on Tuesday evening. While Tirana will play host this time, Egbo’s side are very much the underdogs against the former European champions.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the 47-year-old acknowledged Crvena’s strength, but stressed his side is not far off in terms of competitive level and would rise to the occasion.
“I hope we get the right result against Crvena Zvezda,” Egbo said. “When I said that we will target the group stage, I was not thinking about what team we would face. Tirana has the same chances as Crvena Zvezda. I’ve told the players to enjoy the game, but not to get emotional.
“Before the match with Dinamo Tbilisi, it was a different atmosphere. It was outside Albania. Some of our players were experiencing it for the first time. I congratulated the new players. It was something big for them. They have gained self-confidence.”
Egbo also hinted that the one-legged, straight knockout format could be to his side’s advantage, but was non-committal on the merits of playing at the Air Albania Stadium, especially without the benefit of the fans.
“I don’t know if you saw the Champions League matches, teams like Lyon and PSG. If we were in normal conditions PSG would not be in the final. We will hope until the end, anything can happen.
“[Playing in Albania] can be an advantage, but it can also not be. The opponent is a very formidable team. It’s like a Cup match, anything can happen.
“We know how they play. They are a strong team that knows how to attack. We will see how we will cope.”