THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Fortress set for cracker as Bengaluru FC aim to make group stages of AFC Cup

Sunil Chhetri during a Bengaluru FC training session at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. (Photo courtesy: Bengaluru FC)
Sunil Chhetri during a Bengaluru FC training session at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. Photo courtesy: Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC will have it all to do at the Fortress on Wednesday when they look to overturn a first-leg 2-1 deficit against Maldivian side Maziya S&RC to book a spot in the AFC Cup group stages. Goals from Ibrahim Mahudhee and Cornelius Stewart on either side of a Nili Perdomo spot-kick gave Maziya the advantage in the play-off fixture at the National Stadium, in Male, last week. But Carles Cuadrat has said that his side would chase the win from the get-go as the Blues enter a crucial phase in their season.

“We know that we have to score at least one goal against Maziya tomorrow. Our objective, of course, is to play offensive football but at the same time, we have to be careful not to concede. It’s about 90 minutes of football and a lot of things can happen,” said Cuadrat.

Bengaluru will be without striker Thongkhosiem Haokip, who suffered an injury against ATK in the final game of the League stages of the Indian Super League, and despite results not going his way in both competitions, Cuadrat maintained that his side were in a good dynamic.

“Semboi has been to the hospital and we are awaiting the result of the tests to know the extent of his injury, but he will not be taking part tomorrow. I have managed to rest and rotate among the other players to keep them fit. Dimas and Albert will not be playing tomorrow, and I was able to use them in the ISL game. The players are fit for this special ‘final’ against Maziya,” Cuadrat added.

While the Blues will miss Harmanjot Khabra who sits out of the game with a suspension, Cuadrat will welcome back Suresh Wangjam who served his one-game suspension and returns to the Bengaluru midfield.

The Blues’ boss added that he would bank on the support of the famous Bengaluru supporters, who have been a part of many special nights at the Kanteerava Stadium during his time at the club so far. “We are lucky that we have three finals ahead of us. Two of them are at home, in front of our supporters. In our short history, they have helped us in the 3-1 victory against JDT, the 3-1 win against FC Pune City in the ISL semifinal and the 3-0 win against NorthEast United last season. It’s a good combination, the winning mentality of these players and the support of our fans,” he said.

The game kicks off at 7.30 pm.

(Bengaluru FC)