AFC Cup: Group leaders Bengaluru FC face Abahani Limited Dhaka challenge
Bengaluru FC will look to take a big step towards booking a berth in the knockout stage of the AFC Cup when they take on Bangladesh side Abahani Limited Dhaka in Dhaka on Wednesday.
Albert Roca’s team currently lead Group E with nine points from three games, while Abahani, in their debut AFC season, are at the bottom of the pile having faced defeats against Maziya, Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru.
However the hosts will be keen to earn their first points.
“While things do look difficult for Abahani, we would be foolish to assume they won’t cause us any trouble. They are at home and are in search of a win and we will have to be at our best,” said Roca at a press conference on Tuesday.
“We also realise that a win here will set us up really well to make it to the knock-out stages of this tournament,” he added.
Nishu Kumar and Marjan Jugovic scored one in each half at the Fortress when the Drago Mamic-coached side came visiting two weeks ago. The Blues outplayed Abahani in every department and Roca would hope his side can turn up with an encore.
“We’ve got something good going for us. We’re finishing off the chances we create, an area which was a bit of concern a few months ago. And our defence has been tight to say the least,” said Roca.
Bengaluru’s impressive run of winning six games on the spin without conceding, across competitions is a pattern Roca will be keen to extend.
“The team realises that they need to keep this going if we are to succeed in the two competitions that we have a chance of winning,” he said.
Roca chose to leave out a number of regular starters for the game against Churchill Brothers in the I-League over the weekend. But the Blues’ younger lot managed to put up a good show in a 3-0 defeat of the club from Goa.
It would be interesting to see the line-up that the Spaniard rolls out tomorrow.
Earlier, the flight carrying the Bengaluru squad ran into heavy turbulence, forcing the plane to fly back to Kolkata.