Roca announces Blues’ squad for AFC Cup knockout rounds

The squad has as many as 14 new faces following the Indian Super League draft, and features two graduates from the Blues’ residential youth academy in Bellary.

The first leg of the Blues’ Inter Zonal semifinal against April 25 SC is set to kick off at the Kanteerava Stadium on August 23rd.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Key defender John Johnson will miss Bengaluru FC’s AFC Cup campaign, the club announced here on Wednesday. Johnson cited personal reasons
for his withdrawal. The Englishman is expected to return for BFC’s Indian Super League (ISL) campaign.

The club takes on North Korean club April 25 SC in the AFC Cup inter-zonal semifinal (first leg), at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, here on August 23.

The 25-man squad features fourteen new faces, following the ISL draft. Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu, along with Spaniards Toni Dovale and Dimas Delgado, joins defender Juanan Gonzalez to make up the side’s foreign contingent. The squad also features BFC academy graduates Leon Augustine and Prashanth Kalinga, who impressed Roca in the pre-season matches held at Spain.

“We’ve had very little time to prepare, but the trip to Spain has been good exposure for the boys. We’ve tested ourselves against good opposition. Johnson’s absence is a massive blow for us, but we are aware of his situation, and it was the right decision to make for us to let him be at home. It is unfortunate for us, but his return for the club’s ISL campaign will be a boost,” head coach Albert Roca said.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Lalthuammawia Ralte, Abhra Mondal, Calvin Abhishek.

Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Zohmingliana Ralte, Collin Abranches, Joyner Lourenco, Juanan Gonzalez, Nishu Kumar, Prashanth Kalinga.

Midfielders: Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado, Antonio Dovale, Boithang Haokip, Lenny Rodrigues, Alwyn George, Harmanjot Khabra, Malsawmzuala,
Robinson Singh.

Strikers: Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Thongkhosiem Haokip, Leon Augustine.

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