AFC Cup: Blues face Maziya with depleted strike force, Bagan take on Abahani Dhaka


Bengaluru FC, who were runners-up in last year’s AFC Cup, find themselves in a fix as only a win against Maziya of Maldives will ensure advancement to the knockout round


Daniel would have to step up in attack, in absence of Udanta and Vineeth

A win in the last group game will ensure Bengaluru FC further run in the AFC Cup. Both Maziya and Bengaluru will see themselves at 12 points in such situation and despite having a huge goal difference as advantage, Maziya will see themselves knocked out as AFC rules has head to head record between teams as differentiating factor. So while Blues need a win, the Maldivians Champions need just a draw for further qualification.

Bengaluru FC has huge woes in their hand in the striking department. Udanta Singh, blues one of the most instrumental players this season, is sidelined due to injury he succumbed in the recently concluded Federation cup. Captain Sunil Chhetri, another player who succumbed to a similar injury has been deemed fit enough for the game while one only hopes it is not a rushed decision. CK Vineeth too looked uncomfortable, seemingly carrying niggle by the end of the game and will be a doubtful starter. Cornell Glen, blues latest recruit is ineligible to play in AFC Cup tournament as Marjan Jugovic has already played as the fourth foreigner. The Serbian striker too is recuperating from injury and a big doubtful for the game. Len Doungel and Daniel Lalhlimpuia are the two players who could start the game in the striking department, although both the players are young, Coach Albert Roca have ensured enough game time and trust to both the players and will be expected to carry the same expectation forward in the crucial tie.

The midfield is bolstered by the return of Cameroon Watson while Eugeneson Lyngdoh could start alongside the Australian. The defence looks rock solid for the blue with Sandesh Jhingan, Juanan and John Johnson with Amrinder in post producing amazing display in the Federation cup semi-final and final against the likes of Aizawl FC and Mohun Bagan. John Johnson in particular looked solid in both the game, after a disastrous I league season the Englishman seems to be back in his old form.

Maziya coach Marjan Sekulovski could look to set up a defensive game plan and hurt Bengaluru on the break to try and put the game out of the home side’s reach. The Maldivian champions are on an impressive form, after the opening game defeat to Blues at home thanks to John Johnson’s injury time strike, Maziya have gone on to win four consecutive AFC group games including a 1-0 and 5-2 thrashing of Mohan Bagan.

A high octane game should be expected between the Blues attack and Maziya’s defence with the southerners looking for a win while the latter will be content with a draw.

Kick Off: 7:45PM IST, 31st May, Kanteerva Stadium, Bengaluru

Also Read: I-League 2nd Division : Kenkre FC vs Fateh Hyderabad AFC- Photo gallery


Sony Norde didnt travel with the team

Bagan lock horns with Abahani Dhaka in their final group game as Mariners would lopk to end the season on high with a win

Mariners have been quite unlucky this season having ended second best in both I league and Federation cup, failing at the last hurdle. With AFC Cup knockout round too out of reach, having lost three out of five games, Bagan would like to end the season on a winning note. However, Sony Norde could miss the game after Visa issue cropped up for the Haitian.

In the previous meeting between the two sides at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, Bagan won 3-1 courtesy goals from Balwant Singh, Norde and Jeje Lalpekhlua.

Kick Off: 7:45PM IST, 31st May, Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka

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