BFC to meet Aizawl in must-win AFC Cup tie

Bengaluru FC is currently placed second in Group 'E' in the AFC Cup behind leader New Radiant with both teams on nine points each.

Bengaluru FC's Sunil Chhetri in training.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Bengaluru FC (BFC) faces a crucial AFC Cup outing, against Aizawl FC, at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday.

BFC (9 points), placed second in Group ‘E’, needs a victory to bolster its chances of qualifying to the inter-zone playoff semifinals round. Group-topper New Radiant is tied with BFC on points, but ahead on a better head-to-head record. If both teams win its two remaining matches, it will be New Radiant which advances to the next round.

The Blues find themselves in a nervous state after a shock 0-2 defeat suffered at the hands of Maldives side New Radiant a week ago.

Skipper Sunil Chhetri stated that his team needs to make drastic improvements, describing the Male outing as the low point of the season. “We need to make a lot of improvements. As a team, we didn’t turn up (against New Radiant). It was the worst performance in our season. We sat down today, and we couldn’t come up with a single positive from that match, except for the performance of Moya (Lalthuammawia), the goalkeeper. There was no unity, and we were not cohesive in attack. It’s so sad, for all the good things we did this season, one bad show could haunt us,” Chhetri said.

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BFC will miss the services of defender Zohmingliana Ralte – he was the captain of Aizawl FC when the team clinched the 2016-17 I-League title - due to an injury.

Aizawl FC (1 point), meanwhile, is out of contention. The Mizoram club has not had the best of seasons, finishing fifth in the 2017-18 I-League.

Visiting head coach Santosh Kashyap explained, “We have no chance of qualifying, but playing an international tournament gives excellent exposure to the youngsters in our squad, especially against a strong team like BFC. To be honest, it will be difficult to defeat BFC in Bengaluru. We will definitely try do well, and it will be an entertaining match.”

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