BFC await tough test against Altyn

BFC await tough test against Altyn

IN READINESS Bengaluru FC players warm-up ahead of a practice session on the eve of their AFC Cup clash against Altyn Asyr. DH Photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

Post a month-long layoff and tough pre-season, Bengaluru FC will resume battle as they take on Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr in the first leg of the AFC Cup Inter-zonal semifinal here on Wednesday.

It wasn’t an easy route that the boys in blue took to the knockouts of the tournament with other results playing a major role in progression.

After enjoying a successful period with the club, Albert Roca decided to call it quits in May this year citing personal reasons and the club showed their penchant for continuity by hiring his assistant Carles Cuadrat.   

Cuadrat’s first competitive assignment will be no walk in the park as BFC will begin the new era against an opposition that is coming off the back of beating last season’s finalists FC Istiklol.

But skipper Sunil Chhetri believes that the experience his side received in the warm-up games, against the likes of Barcelona ‘B’ and Villarreal ‘B’ was invaluable and has the side in all readiness for the tough road that lays ahead.

“There has been a lot we have learned. One of the most prominent things is that we have understood how to defend as a team. There were a lot of voices, a lot of talking. (Harmanjot) Khabra, Gurpreet (Singh), Rino (Anto). The way they talked to each other, made sure we all came back and defended. We don’t do that here generally. We did a lot of that. For example, Miku had come back and marked a No 6. The way we are prepared, even if we’re down to 10 men, we will come back and defend and make it tough for the opposition.”

Spaniard Cuadrat is excited at the prospect of being at the helm for the first time in front of the Sree Kanteerava faithful.

The major threat that Altyn pose will be on the attack, with the club finding the net on 31 occasions in 16 games in their national league (Ýokary Liga) but Chhetri and co can counter it by exposing their defence, who don’t boast a solid record.

BFC’s stand-out recruit Xisco Hernandez is a part of the squad and in the absence of Dimas Delgado, who suffered an ankle injury, will lead the midfield charge. Other foreigners include the reliable Juanan, burly Australian Erik Paartalu and Venezuelan marksman Miku. Harmjot Khabra misses out as he recovers from chicken pox.

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