Tough draw for Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC were grouped alongside Lao Toyota FC, Ayeyawady FC and one of Johor Darul Ta’zim or Pahang FC in Group H of the 2016 AFC Cup, at a draw conducted here on Thursday.

Having qualified as cup winners after securing the Federation Cup last season, head coach Ashley Westwood sounded confident of his side putting on a good show in Asia once again.

“I’m happy and excited that the draw has finally taken place as it’s been a long wait since we experienced the AFC Cup last season.

“We enjoyed our time in the competition last year and we gave a good account of ourselves. We’re looking to do the same again this season,” said Westwood.

With the Blues travelling to previously unchartered territory in Laos and Myanmar, Westwood is confident that the trips will help broaden his side’s experience on the Asian circuit.

“You can’t really say whether the draw has been favourable or not, because all the teams are in it by virtue of being champions or cup winners from their own countries. What stands out is two countries we’ve not played in before with Myanmar and Laos. It’s an opportunity for the side to broaden their experience and we’re looking to go out there and put on good performances,” he said.

While Lao Toyota and Ayeyawady FC’s positions in the group are certain, defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim will play in the AFC Champions League playoff and should Johor fail to qualify to the group stages of the Champions League, the Blues would meet familiar foes in this season’s AFC Cup.

The Blues begin their AFC Cup campaign with an away fixture in Laos against Lao Toyota FC on 24 February 2016.

Schedule: February 24: Lao Toyota FC vs Bengaluru FC
March 9: Bengaluru FC vs Johor Darul Tazim/ Pahang FC
March 16: Ayeyawady FC vs Bengaluru FC
April 13: Bengaluru FC vs Ayeyawady FC
April 27: Bengaluru FC vs Lao Toyota FC
May 11: Johor Darul Tazim/ Pahang FC vs Bengaluru FC

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