Bleed Blue: History beckons as Bengaluru FC to play the first AFC final today | football | Hindustan Times
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Bleed Blue: History beckons as Bengaluru FC to play the first AFC final today

As history beckons, Bengaluru FC will be eyeing victory as they take on the Iraqi Air Force Club (Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya) on Saturday in the first-ever Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup final for an Indian team.

football Updated: Nov 05, 2016 13:55 IST
Bengaluru's players congratulate their captain Sunil Chhetri (centre) on scoring during the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup semifinal againstJohor Darul Ta'zim at the Shree Kanteerava stadium in Bengaluru.
Bengaluru's players congratulate their captain Sunil Chhetri (centre) on scoring during the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup semifinal againstJohor Darul Ta'zim at the Shree Kanteerava stadium in Bengaluru.(AFP Photo)

As history beckons, Bengaluru FC will be eyeing victory as they take on the Iraqi Air Force Club (Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya) on Saturday in the first-ever Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup final for an Indian team.

Both teams will be playing their maiden AFC final at the Sultan Bin Hamad Stadium on Saturday.

Bengaluru FC has already clinched two I-League titles and a Federation Cup, but their show in the continental tournament has garnered the fans’ attention.

Here’s a look the the clash:

Key players

Sunil Chhetri

The team calls him ‘Captain Marvel’ and he has showed it with his performance on the pitch with five goals so far. That he is India’s highest goalscorer in internationals is not a coincidence.

Read | A final worth more than a million dollars for Bengaluru FC and India

The BFC and India skipper said: “Bengaluru reaching the final in the host country of the 2022 World Cup, and hopefully winning it, has signalled the beginning of the revival of Indian football as an Asian power.”

Eugeneson Lyngdoh

A rare Indian player equally comfortable on either foot, the accuracy of his delivery, not just from set-pieces, will be crucial for a team seeking to make history. In the last ISL season, ex-England international David Platt, who was FC Pune City’s coach, praised Lyngdoh’s abilities.

Teams

The Bengaluru-based side, coached by Albert Roca -- who was thea former assistant coach at FC Barcelona -- have been in superb form in the tournament. They won six times, lost 3 and drew twice.

The Air Force Club have scored 26 goals in 11 matches in the tournament, with 15 scored by their striker Hammadi Ahmed Abdullah, a national team player.

India’s AFC performance so far

No football team from India, a laggard in the international arena, has won an Asian level title since the national side bagged the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games gold.

East Bengal won the first Asean Championship in Indonesia in 2003, beating Thai club BEC Tero Sasana 3-1 in the final. But that was a tournament competed by 10 sides from South East Asian countries plus East Bengal representing India as an invitational team.