BFC fancied against Dhaka

BFC fancied against Dhaka
With three back-to-back wins in all competitions, a rarity for them this season, Bengaluru FC will look to build on the momentum when they welcome Bangladeshi champions Abahani Dhaka for an AFC Cup Group E encounter at the Sree Kanteerava stadium on Tuesday.

The Albert Roca-coached side are finally showing some signs of composure and intent this season and that reflected in the manner they approached their last three games. Against Maziya S&RC in the AFC Cup and Aizawl FC in the I-League, though they were the made to struggle, Bengaluru held their ground and dug deep to score late and eke out wins.

Against Shillong Lajong last weekend, they took their game a notch higher. “What’s more important is the performance,” said Roca throwing light on what had changed in the last three games. “I wasn't very happy with our performance against Aizawl. But these are things that happen. Sometime we don’t win despite playing better. Now we are more confident. The last game against Shillong we did well. So I expect the same tomorrow to play and win,” .

Against Abahani, Roca will be expecting something similar. However, injuries continue to trouble Bengaluru. Udanta Singh, CK Vineeth and Amrinder Singh have been sidelined while Cameron Watson, Sandesh Jhingan and the head coach will have to sit out due to suspensions.

If their training session on Monday is anything to go by, Roca is expected to line up an attacking side banking on a three-man defence. Nishu Kumar and Harmanjot Khabra could put in a double shift in an overloaded midfield while Daniel Lalhlimpuia could start ahead of Marjian Jugovic.

Challenging the 2016 finalists will be the champions of Bangladesh, Abahani. The Dhaka-based outfit come into this tie on the back of two defeats. They will have to turn things around soon if they’re to have a longer run in the tournament.

With the Bangladesh Premier League kicking-off later in the year, the Drago Mamic-coached side is short on match practice. And though the Croatian is a little sceptical about his side’s chances against Bengaluru, he hoped lack of match practice won’t be the reason for that. “The biggest problem is we have no competitions now. Only two games we have played. We are improving from game to game,” he said.

“Of course we are playing the reigning champion of India, last year’s finalists. We have come here prepared to play a very strong team.” Though Welshman Jon­athan Brown is the only Abahani player to find the back of the net so far in the competition, the Bangladeshi outfit do have some firepower that could test Bengaluru. Nigerian Emeka Darlington will hope to continue his fine run at Sheikh Jamal club last season with his new side, while Sohel Rana will look to impress in the midfield. But all said and done, the Bangladeshi outfit will have to produce something extraordinary if they are to have any chance against Bengaluru FC.

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