Bengaluru FC will look to take a big step towards qualifying out of the group stages of the AFC Cup when they take on Bangladesh side Abahani Limited Dhaka at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, in Dhaka, on Tuesday.
Albert Roca’s Blues lead Group E with nine points from three games while Abahani, in their debut AFC season, are bottom of the pile having faced defeats against Maziya, Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru. However the Spaniard cited the hosts’ pursuit of their first points as enough reason for Bengaluru to up the momentum they have been building.
“While things do look difficult for Abahani, we would be foolish to assume they won’t cause us any trouble. They are at home and are in search of a win and we will have to be at our best. We also realise that a win here will set us up really well to make it to the knock-out stages of this tournament,” said Roca while addressing the press on Tuesday.
Nishu Kumar and Marjan Jugovic scored one in each half at the Fortress when the Drago Mamic-coached side came visiting two weeks ago. The Blues outplayed Abahani in every department and Roca will hope his side can turn up with an encore. The win is part of Bengaluru’s impressive run of winning six games on the spin without conceding, across competitions – a pattern Roca is keen to extend. “We’ve got something good going for us. We’re finishing off the chances we create, an area which was a bit of concern a few months ago. And our defence has been tight to say the least. The team realises that they need to keep this going if we are to succeed in the two competitions that we have a chance of winning.”
Roca chose to leave out a number of regular starters for the game against Churchill Brothers in the League over the weekend and Blues’ younger lot put on a show in a 3-0 defeat of the club from Goa, making it interesting to see the line-up the Spaniard rolls out on Tuesday.
Earlier, the flight carrying the Bengaluru squad ran into heavy turbulence, forcing the plane to fly back to Kolkata. The Blues then arrived in Dhaka late into the night on Monday but managed to put in a session at the Bangabandhu Stadium on Tuesday.
The game kicks off at 17.40 IST.