BENGALURU: A goalless draw in the first leg may have come as a surprise for Bengaluru FC but the experienced Asian heavyweights still remain firm favourites to roll over minnows Transport United FC in their must-win return home fixture of the 2018 AFC Cup preliminary stage here on Tuesday.
A win will see the Blues advance to the mid-February two-legged playoffs, where they will face the winner of the second South Zone preliminary round fixture between Bangladesh’s Saif Sporting Club and Maldives’ TC Sports Club.
A hectic Indian Super League schedule forced coach Albert Roca to rotate the squad and field a relatively young side – featuring four BFC ‘B’ team players – in Thimpu, Bhutan, last week. At the high altitude Changlimithang Stadium, Bengaluru battled chilling temperatures and a stubborn Transport United side in search of the key away goal but failed.
“We fell short in our finishing and we are working on it,” Roca told reporters on the eve of the encounter. “Transport United are a side that can be dangerous on their day and we can’t take this game lightly. We know that a win can take us through but we know that the equation is the same for them and that they will put on a strong show.”
Iranian test awaits Aizawl
With the I-League title slowly going out of their grasp, Aizawl FC turn their focus to Iran where they will take on Zob Ahan FC at Foolad Shahr Stadium in the AFC Champions League playoff tie in Isfahan on Tuesday.
It’s going to be another historic day for Aizawl FC that made football fans in the country get up and take notice when they won the ILeague title last year. But it’s not going to be an easy task for the northeast club that hasn’t been doing too well in the I-League this year. They are currently placed 6th on the table with 15 points from 10 matches.
To add to coach Paulo Menezes’s concern, the team was unable to procure visa for their fourth foreigner after Kareem Nurain, who was earlier selected for the trip to Iran, was injured during the match against NEROCA FC. As a result, the Portuguese coach will have to do with Alfred Jaryan, Andrei Ionescu and centreback Masih Saighani.
Source : timesofindia