Bengaluru FC to start season with AFC Champions league qualifier

Bengaluru FC will begin its new season in Asia with an AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage 2 fixture against Jordanian club Al Wehdat SC in an away tie on January 31.

Bengaluru FC will start the campaign against Jordanian club Al Wehdat on January 31st.   -  PTI

Bengaluru FC will begin its new season in Asia with an AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage 2 fixture against Jordanian club Al Wehdat SC in an away tie on January 31st. An improved Member Ranking for India has meant the I-League champion need not compete in a Preliminary Stage 1 game.

BFC will, instead, need to prevail in two single-legged ties to make the group stages. The winner of the tie between Bengaluru and Al Wehdat will come up against Al Wahda of UAE in the play-off game on February 7. Defeat in either of the games will see BFC drop down to the group stages of the AFC Cup.

Al Wehdat will be no pushover, having won the Jordanian League for the last three seasons on the bounce. The club made the semifinal of the AFC Cup in 2011 but failed to advance beyond the round-of-16 this year.

Should BFC drop down to the AFC Cup, whose format has been tweaked, it will be playing in the South Region. The side will be clubbed with Maziya S&R (Maldives), Albani Dhaka Limited (Bangladesh) and one of Mohun Bagan, Colombo FC (Sri Lanka), Thimpu City (Bhutan) or Club Valencia (Maldives), who will battle it out in the Preliminary Stage of the Cup. Last month, BFC became the first Indian club to progress to the final of the AFC Cup.

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