Bengaluru FC's AFC Cup play-off match rescheduled to May 11

BFC was earlier drawn to play the winners of the match between Bangaldesh's Abahani and Maldives' Eagles. However, a countrywide lockdown and travel restrictions in Bangladesh forced Abahani to withdraw from the tournament.

Bengaluru FC, runner-up in 2016, were earlier scheduled to play on April 28.   -  BFC Media

Indian club Bengaluru FC's AFC Cup play-off match, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this month, has been rescheduled for May 11.

BFC, runner-up in 2016, were earlier scheduled to play on April 28.

The side will now travel to Maldives to take on host Club Eagles next month for the group D fixture.

"The sub-committee also agreed to award the Playoff Stage slot to Club Eagles, who will now face India’s Bengaluru FC for a place in the AFC Cup Group D on May 11, 2021 in Maldives," Asian Football Confederation said in a press release on Friday.

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BFC was earlier drawn to play the winners of the match between six-time Bangladesh Premier League champion Abahani and Maldives' Eagles.

However, a countrywide lockdown and travel restrictions in Bangladesh forced Abahani to withdraw from the tournament.

"Taking into careful consideration the exceptional circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the lockdown and travel restrictions in Bangladesh, the Sub-Committee decided that Abahani Limited Dhaka are considered to have withdrawn from the AFC Cup 2021 and that the situation constituted an event of force majeure." The AFC also announced that Myanmar clubs Hantharwady United FC and Shan United FC have withdrawn from the AFC Cup and AFC Champions League, respectively.

"The AFC Competitions Committee noted and acknowledged the challenges as well as the present complexities caused by the state of emergency in Myanmar and decided that the situation constituted an event of force majeure." In light of the development, the AFC Competitions Committee has cancelled the Champions League preliminary stage match between Shan United FC and Melbourne City FC.

READ: Bengaluru FC's AFC Cup playoff match indefinitely postponed

"To determine the remaining slots for the 2021 AFC Club Competitions, the AFC Competitions Committee has decided to cancel the AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage match between Shan United FC and Australia's Melbourne City FC, who will now advance to the playoff stage where they will face Cerezo Osaka from Japan." The committee also cancelled the AFC Cup playoff stage match between Hantharwady United FC, who were originally scheduled to face the winner of the preliminary stage match between FC Chanthabouly from Laos and Brunei Darussalam's Kasuka FC.

"FC Chanthabouly and Kasuka FC will instead compete for a direct slot in Group G occupying position G4, alongside Hanoi FC from Vietnam, Bali United FC from Indonesia and Cambodia’s Boeung Ket," the statement read.

The AFC Cup playoff stage match between Persipura Jayapura and the winner of the preliminary stage tie between Visakha FC and Lalenok United FC has also been called off.

"Persipura Jayapura has instead received an automatic entry into Group H in position H4, alongside Kedah Darul Aman from Malaysia, Singapore’s Lion City Sailors FC and Saigon FC from Vietnam, while Visakha FC and Lalenok United FC will compete for a place in Group I." In their last outing, BFC thrashed Nepal's Tribhuvan Army FC 5-0 in Bambolim, Goa.

The fixture was new coach Marco Pezzaiuoli's first competitive game in charge of the Blues, since his appointment as head coach in February.

AFC Champions League, AFC Cup reshuffled after Myanmar withdraws

The Asian Football Confederation has amended the schedule for two tiers of its continental club championships after the Myanmar Football Federation withdrew Hantharwady United FC and Shan United FC from the 2021 competitions.

The AFC issued a statement Friday saying its competitions committee “noted and acknowledged the challenges as well as the present complexities caused by the state of emergency in Myanmar and decided that the situation constituted an event of force majeure.”

More than 700 protesters and bystanders have been killed by security forces in Myanmar since the Feb. 1 coup, according to several detailed estimates. The junta’s own figure is roughly one-third of that. The military also denies using disproportionate force to put down what it describes as rioting.

With the Myanmar clubs out of the regional soccer competitions, the AFC has canceled an AFC Champions League preliminary stage match between Shan United FC and Australia’s Melbourne City, which will now advance directly to a playoff against Cerezo Osaka from Japan.

With Hantharwady United FC out of playoff contention in the second-tier AFC Cup, the AFC has decided that FC Chanthabouly of Laos and Brunei’s Kasuka FC will now compete for a direct slot in Group G.

- AP