Bengaluru FC’s hectic month of fixtures continues as they shift focus from Super Cup duties to an AFC Cup Group E clash against Aizawl FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, Assam, on Thursday. Blues boss Albert Roca has called this a test of his squad’s fitness and depth, with Bengaluru set to play three games in three different venues, in little over a week.
“Everyone knows that a successful club is involved in many tournaments and it is the same with Bengaluru FC since I joined. We play Aizawl tomorrow, and then fly to Bangalore to face New Radiant SC, after which we fly to Bhubaneswar again for the Super Cup quarterfinals. It is a tough schedule, but it is something that we take as a challenge and I am sure that my players will be ready for it,” said Roca.
The Spaniard rolled out a full-strength eleven for the Blues’ pre-quarterfinal win against Gokulam Kerala FC over the weekend and with a few new faces joining the squad in Guwahati, it will be interesting to see the line-up that takes the pitch to face the side from the hills tomorrow.
“Aizawl are a very good team with some skillful foreigners in key positions. We saw them when they played Chennaiyin FC in Bhubaneswar and we also followed their run in the I-League. It’s no question that whoever plays for my team will have to give their best because we are playing a team that’s very quick and can punish you at any moment,” said Roca.
The Blues began the 2018 AFC Cup Group stages with a 1-0 win over Abahani Dhaka FC through a second half strike from Daniel Lalhlimpuia, while Aizawl went down 3-1 to New Radiant SC in Maldives.
“It’s true that we have won our first game in the competition, but it’s important not to dwell on an advantage. Every team in the group is a strong contender for qualification and we have to be wary of that to avoid any slip ups,” said Roca.
Santosh Kashyap’s Aizawl side, meanwhile, will be without the services of defender Lalramhmunmawia, who was sent off in the previous clash against New Radiant. Romanian midfielder Andrei Ionescu scored twice for the 2017 I-League champions in the Super Cup pre-quarterfinal against Chennaiyin FC and will be a player that the Blues’ backline will do well to keep quiet.
The match in Guwahati kicks off at 6.30 pm.