Adil Khan: 'We have attackers who can tear into BFC defence'

BFC needs a victory to secure a final berth, having been held to a goalless draw in the first leg. The FC Pune City midfielder is confident that his team can score an away goal.

Adil Khan during a training session.   -  Special Arrangement

FC Pune City player Adil Khan believes that Bengaluru FC (BFC) will be under pressure when the two sides meet in the second leg of the ISL semifinal here on Sunday. BFC needs a victory to secure a final berth, having been held to a goalless draw in the first leg. If the return leg also ends in a goalless draw, extra-time and penalties will come into the picture.

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“BFC is under pressure, because they have to win. Also, if we score a goal, we will have one foot in the final,” Adil said. The midfielder is confident that his team can score an away goal. “We have attackers who can tear into the BFC defence. Guys like Emiliano Alfaro and Marcelinho have been scoring a lot of goals," Adil said.

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The vociferous support that BFC is expected to receive at Sree Kanteerava Stadium does not faze Adil. “I’ve played for Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata derby. The Bagan-East Bengal matches were high pressure games too," Adil said.

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The Goan’s self-belief comes from having overcome personal and professional setbacks. After appearing for Delhi Dynamos in the 2014 ISL season, Adil moved to I-League team Bharat FC. During a training session there, he suffered a serious Posterior Cruciate Ligament injury, which forced him out of action for a year.

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"The timing of the injury was terrible, because I had done well in the ISL, and also as an India international. The injury led to financial problems too. My father does not work, and my mother is a housewife. My brother, who worked in Dubai, helped us out a lot. He gave me money to pay for my treatment,” Adil said.

After he regained his fitness, Adil found himself in a tough situation. With the I-League season nearly complete, clubs were unwilling to sign him. He got an offer from Lonestar Kashmir, an I-League second division side. Adil accepted a three-month deal, and began his comeback journey. "Lonestar Kashmir helped me get match-fit,” Adil said.

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Adil then moved to his home State, and turned out for Dempo in the Goa Professional League. The following season, he represented I-League
unit Churchill Brothers.

Adil's return to the ISL was complete last year, when FC Pune City chose him as their first pick in the draft. The 29-year-old has since emerged as one of the star performers of the club, and a firm fan favourite. “People recognise me, and ask for photos and autographs. I couldn’t have even dreamed of this a few years ago," Adil said.

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