Federation Cup final appeared to be the priority for the two opponents – Mohun bagan and Bengaluru FC – who have been forced to play an AFC Cup group E league game ahead of the important title clash that will decide the team to qualify for next season’s AFC Cup. The fifth round match of the AFC Cup, which will be played here under lights on Wednesday at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, will be seeing a lot names from the reserve list making it to the action.
Bengaluru coach Albert Roca hinted at this arrangement while the intention was clear in the way the visitor travelled without most of its foreigners. English defender John Johnson and Indian midfielder Harmanjot Khabra miss the match with suspensions while Australian Cameron Watson and Spaniard Juanan Gonzalez and Indian goalkeeper Amrinder Singh are some of the regulars who have been given rest. Added to this is the injury of captain Sunil Chhetri, who travels to Bengaluru to get his injury assessed.
The two teams are meeting for the fifth time this season with a win and a draw to their names each in the head-to-head count so far. Bengaluru took the lead with a 2-1 win over Bagan at home in the first round of the group engagement and now it is Mohun Bagan’s turn to make the most of the home advantage.
Bengaluru is on nine points from four matches and remains one of the contenders for a slot in the next round while Mohun Bagan, with three points from four matches, have nothing but honour to play for. Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen would be keen to keep the team’s unbeaten record at home intact when The Mariners take the field on Wednesday. Sen, who had given priority to the domestic contests in the past, will again be resting most of his key players looking for fitter team ahead of the Fed Cup title clash with the same opponent.
Match starts at 7 pm.