Home advantage for BFC

The team will be hoping for some of its I-League form to rub off on it.

Bengaluru FC players during a practice session.   -  K. Murali Kumar

As Bengaluru FC (BFC) prepares to take on Ayeyawady United in the AFC Cup at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday, it will be hoping for some of its I-League form to rub off on it.

The side, which is on the cusp of becoming the domestic champion, has seen its continental hopes suffer. It sits third in Group ‘H’ with three points from three games and badly needs a win to salvage its AFC Cup campaign.

“We want to win the I-League,” said Bengaluru coach Ashley Westwood. “And go at least one step further in the AFC Cup (than last time). So the initial target is to be in the last eight. And then, we want to go all the way.”

For BFC, this will be a fourth game in 11 days. With a potential I-League title-clincher against Salgaocar looming, it remains to be seen how Westwood shuffles his pack. Midfielder Michael Collins is suspended for this game.

“We always chop and change,” he said. “We will try to pick the best team to win the game. We have two home games and one away left (in AFC Cup). We have a bit of an advantage at home. We are more than capable of winning but a draw wouldn’t be a disaster.”

Right from the start, the two fixtures against Ayeyawady were the ones BFC had targeted. With Johor Darul Ta’zim, the defending champion, also in the group, the fight was always for the second place. Having already eked out a 1-0 away win, a more positive home performance will certainly help.

"They are a decent side,” said Westwood. “They are more than capable of winning. It’s a football match so I wouldn’t say we are favourites. But we are at home. This match is going to be the last chance for both teams to qualify,” said Ayeyawady coach Kyaw Lwin. “BFC is a strong team at home and they lost only 1-0 to Johor at the home. It is the second-best team in the group but we will try (to qualify).”

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