Bengaluru FC looks to regain momentum in AFC Cup

Albert Roca, who is spending his second season with Bengaluru FC, felt the hard-earned win in the Super Cup would be helping the team get over the ISL setback and renew its ambitions for the next objectives — Super Cup and AFC Cup.

Bengaluru FC would be looking to renew its quest for the continental crown taking on the most decorated team from the North-East, which remained mediocre this season.   -  AP

Bengaluru FC looks to cast aside the disappointment of losing the ISL crown and resume its journey in the continental scene looking for its second win in the AFC Cup, when it takes on Aizawl FC here at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Thursday.

The two-time I-League champion and the 2016 AFC Cup finalist missed out on the ISL title in the play-off final despite remaining the most successful team in the league stage. Arguably the most successful club team in the country on its recent form, Bengaluru FC would be looking to renew its quest for the continental crown taking on the most decorated team from the North-East, which remained mediocre this season.

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The schedule had been quite hectic for Bengaluru FC as the scene shifted to the Super Cup after the ISL. The Blues have been able get over the disappointment of the ISL fiasco winning the Super Cup fixture against I-League laggard Gokulam Kerala FC.

Spanish coach Albert Roca, who is spending his second season with Bengaluru FC, felt the hard-earned win in the Super Cup would be helping the team get over the ISL setback and renew its ambitions for the next objectives — Super Cup and AFC Cup.

Roca reminded that his team has a tough test on hand as Bengaluru is set to play three games (considering the Super Cup and AFC Cup fixtures) in three different venues, in little over a week.

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“We play Aizawl tomorrow, and then fly to Bengaluru to face New Radiant SC, after which we fly to Bhubaneswar again for the Super Cup quarterfinals. It is a tough schedule, but it is something that we take as a challenge and I am sure that my players will be ready for it,” Roca said ahead of the match.

Bengaluru FC has won the only outing it has made in the Group E of the AFC Cup league stage. Aizawl FC is yet to score a point having lost its first outing (1-3) against New Radiant SC of Maldives.

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Keeping the team fresh and fit is a big challenge for Roca, who may be prompted to bring in some changes in the side like what he did in Bengaluru FC’s 1-0 win against Abahani Dhaka FC.

Santosh Kashyap-coached Aizawl FC will be missing the services of suspended defender Lalramhmunmawia, and will be forced to look on the efficiency of its four foreigners — Afghan defender Masih Saighani , Liberian Alfred Jaryan and Romanian Andrei Ionescu in the midfield and striker Leonce Dodoz of Ivory Coast — who have been shouldering most of the responsibilities of the side.

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