After having finished a finalist in the AFC Cup last year, Bengaluru FC will look to make a bigger impact continentally when it takes on Al-Wehdat in Jordan in an AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage Two fixture on Tuesday.
“The AFC Champions League is the highest level of competition in the continent, so I don’t think I need to spell out how tough a test this will be," said manager Albert Roca. "We are coming up against a team that is far more experienced but we have to be ready for every sort of challenge if we want to consistently compete in Asia."
The club though will go into the match after back-to-back defeats in the I-League. But Roca refused to believe that his team would be short on confidence.
“No one in the team sees it like that,” he said. “The boys know they cannot afford to make the mistakes that have cost us in the League. While I cannot predict Tuesday’s outcome, I know that the team will turn up with the kind of attitude I want to see.”
In Al-Wehdat, BFC has an opponent which has won the Jordan League for the last three seasons. In Asia, its best finish was a reaching the semi-final of the AFC Cup in 2011. Currently, the side is on four-game winning run and sits second in the Jordan League.
The last time Bengaluru competed for a spot in the Champions League group stages was in February 2015 when it took Johor Darul Ta’zim to extra-time in the single-leg tie before going down 2-1. If BFC clears the first hurdle in its quest to become the first Indian club to make the preliminary stage one of the competition, Al Wahda of UAE awaits.
If BFC fails to get a result against Wehdat, it will drop down the AFC Cup where they it may be grouped alongside Maziya S&RC (Maldives), Abahani FC (Bangladesh) and the winner of the South Zone play-off between clubs from India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Maldives.
With input from agencies
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