Aizawl to play for pride and maiden win in AFC Cup

Without a win so far, Aizawl’s performance in its maiden AFC Cup participation has been disappointing. It has lost four matches and drawn a match — against Abahani Limited Dhaka 1-1 in the first leg — and it is at the bottom of Group E with just one point.

A file photo of Aizawl FC players during the Super Cup. The Aizawl based side, playing its matches in Guwahati as its home ground in Mizoram is not eligible to host AFC matches.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Already out of contention for a knock-out berth, Aizawl FC would play for pride and look to end its AFC Cup campaign on a high when it takes on New Radiant SC of Maldives in the last group match here on Wednesday.

Without a win so far, Aizawl’s performance in its maiden AFC Cup participation has been disappointing. It has lost four matches and drawn a match — against Abahani Limited Dhaka 1-1 in the first leg — and it is at the bottom of Group E with just one point.

The Aizawl based side, playing its matches in Guwahati as its home ground in Mizoram is not eligible to host AFC matches, has nothing at stake except hoping for its maiden win at the continental stage. Aizawl will still end at the bottom of the group even if it wins at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium.

The match will, however, have an impact elsewhere and Aizawl can do a favour to its fellow Indian side Bengaluru FC — which takes on Abahani Limited in Dhaka — if it beats the Maldivian side.

Bengaluru and New Radiant are currently on same 12 points and a win each for both tomorrow will keep them on par and who will proceed to the knock-out will be decided by the results of head-to-head matches. New Radiant has the advantage in that count.

Bengaluru had beaten New Radiant 1-0 at home while the Maldivian side emerged 2-0 victorious in the second leg, thereby, giving it a better goal difference head-to-head which will the deciding factor in such a situation under the tournament rules.

If Aizawl, the 2016-17 I-League winners, can at least draw New Radiant and Bengaluru beat Abahani, Albert Roca’s men will be through to the knock-out round.

For New Radiant, it comes into tomorrow’s match with destiny in its own hands. It is a simple situation as it needs to beat Aizawl without worrying about anything.

In case it draws Aizawl and Bengaluru also draws or loses in Dhaka, it will still go through the next round.

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