Bengaluru FC seeks first points of AFC Cup in away match

Hit by a slew of injuries, BFC coach Westwood had to constantly shuffle his side to deal with a packed domestic calendar and Asian competition and it will be interesting to see what team the Englishman rolls out tomorrow for the match against Ayeyawady United.

Bengaluru FC will look to pick its first points in the AFC Cup tournament tomorrow.   -  K_MURALI_KUMAR

Languishing at the bottom of the group after back-to-back defeats, Bengaluru Football Club would look to pick up its first AFC Cup points when it takes on Ayeyawady United here on Wednesday.

Ashley Westwood’s side arrived at this former capital city on Monday with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees Celsius. The team has its task cut out against the Cup champions of Myanmar in the Group H match.

BFC played defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim of Malaysia last week in Bengaluru and was unlucky to come out without a point after a solitary goal defeat.

Ayeyawady bounced back from a 1-8 defeat in its opener to Johor with a 4-2 victory over Lao Toyota of Laos.

Hit by a slew of injuries, Westwood had to constantly shuffle his side to deal with a packed domestic calendar and Asian competition and it will be interesting to see what team the Englishman rolls out tomorrow at the Youth Training Centre grounds here. Curtis Osano and C K Vineeth, who missed the Blues’ last two games with groin strains, have made the trip while skipper Sunil Chhetri, who had no part to play in the defeat to Johor, could be in contention to make the starting XI.

Johor, with two wins in as many games, leads Group H with six points followed by Ayeyawady and Lao with three points each while Bengaluru lies at the bottom without a point with a chance to climb up tomorrow.

Ayeyawady will be relying on its Nigerian striker Christopher Chizoba who notched up a hat-trick in the win over Lao. Chizoba, interestingly, has an India connection of sorts having turned out for Kolkata side Mohun Bagan. He also had stints at Kalighat MS, Mohammedan Sporting, Shillong Lajong and Lonestar Kashmir FC.

Bengaluru, however, will not have too much to worry about at the back should it be able to churn out the defensive performance like the one it rolled out against Johor. Young Salam Ranjan Singh was composed alongside John Johnson while Keegan Pereira, Lalchhuanmawia and Rino Anto refused to let anything slip by between them.

Vineeth’s return should also boost the BFC attack should Westwood decide to play him. The quick striker has five goals for the Blues in all competitions and was on target in the loss against Lao Toyota.

Udanta Singh, meanwhile, has been improving with every game and could play a pivotal part in Bengaluru’s scheme of things tomorrow.

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