AFC Cup: Bengaluru Shift Focus to AFC; Host Abahani Limited Dhaka
Bengaluru FC will have to shift focus to the AFC Cup as they host Bangladesh side Abahani Limited Dhaka in an AFC Cup group stage fixture at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, .
The Blues, who top Group E with two wins from as many games, made the arduous trip to Shillong over the weekend where they beat Lajong 2-0 in the League and Albert Roca said his side will have their work cut out against Abahani. “The schedules haven’t made things easy for us but we’ve never been a team that moans. We’re hoping to handle this situation as well as we can. The new format of the AFC Cup doesn’t allow us the luxury of even one bad game, so we’re going to have to put everything behind us and get the job done.”
However, Roca will not be on the touchline for the fixture as he will be serving a one-game suspension for his sending-off in the win over Maziya S&RC, leaving Blues’ assistant coach Carles Cuadrat in charge of things. Bengaluru’s suspension woes don’t end with the Spaniard as midfielder Cameron Watson and defender Sandesh Jhingan too will sit out of the game after having picked two cautions each.
“Cameron and Sandesh are vital players and will be missed, but we have a squad that’s capable of stepping up when the need arises,” said Roca, adding that a call on goalkeeper Amrinder Singh’s availability will be a late one. CK Vineeth and Udanta Singh, who were unused substitutes against Lajong, may also be left out of the squad as they recover from injuries.
Abahani haven’t had the best of starts to what is their debut AFC Cup campaign, going down 2-0 to Maziya at home and 3-1 to Mohun Bagan in Kolkata. Interestingly, Abahani coach Drago Mamic has an Indian connect in that he was coach of I-League side Churchill Brothers in the 2010-11 season.