BFC hold slender advantage

BFC hold slender advantage

Bengaluru FC players sweat it out during a training session on the eve of their game against Paro FC in Bengaluru. DH Photo/ B H Shivakumar

Bengaluru FC hold a slender advantage as they host Paro FC in the second leg of the AFC Cup Preliminary Stage Two contest at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday.

Thongkhosiem Haokip's second-half strike had given Carles Cuadrat's men a 1-0 win in Thimpu, Bhutan last week. 

Cuadrat had handed debuts to new signing Nili Perdomo and BFC B graduate Naorem Roshan Singh. The latter made most of the opportunity, grabbing an all-important assist while helping the side keep another clean-sheet.

The young forward, however, is unlikely to feature in the game against Paro. "Unfortunately, he is not ready because he suffered a muscle injury," revealed Cuadrat at the pre-match press conference here on Tuesday.

The victory was well deserved but what pleased the Spaniard, even more, was the performance of the defenders. "It makes you a little bit uncomfortable because if the other team scores one then you have to score two goals, but in this case, we know with a clean-sheet we are going to be in the next round," he said.

Without their top scorer Sunil Chhetri, who has a hamstring strain, BFC were held to a goalless draw in their last game against Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League. And the talismanic skipper will sit out of this fixture as well to prevent any further aggravation of his injury, the BFC coach confirmed.   

It also means the onus will again be on Haokip upfront while Deshorn Brown could come in later as a substitute.

Former BFC player Chencho Gyeltshen, who is in fine form, is likely to turn out for the opposition. The winger has two goals in three AFC Cup matches and could cause trouble for the Blues. "He is the most dangerous player for our team and, he'll be very motivated to have a good game here," Cuadrat said.

"We'll have a plan to stop him. I am happy with the work my players did in Bhutan and I hope that we can do it again."

At the same time, Cuadrat is wary of the threat Paro poses as they look for a turnaround. "I have been watching their games. They try to build from behind. They have players who can make a difference," he said.

BFC defender Gursimrat Singh Gill added that the side is confident ahead of the match. "We are positive. Everyone is motivated and looking forward to the game," he said.

Meanwhile, Paro coach Jangchuk Dorji admitted to BFC having the upper hand but believes his team has the firepower to cause an upset.

The winner of this tie will take on one of either Maziya (Maldives) or Abahani Dhaka (Bangladesh) for a place in the group stages of the competition.

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