5/15/2018 1:08:00 PM (GMT+3)

Bengaluru in a must-win situation against Abahani

Bengaluru in a must-win situation against Abahani

DHAKA, Bangladesh: Bengaluru FC will take on Abahani Limited here on Wednesday at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in their final Group E AFC Cup game.

Albert Roca’s men need a win while hoping Aizawl FC claim a point or more against New Radiant SC in Group E’s other fixture, if they are to stand a chance of qualifying for knock-out stages of the Cup for a fourth successive year.

The Maldivian side need to match Bengaluru’s result, as a better goal difference in the head-to-head comparison between the two sides will pull New Radiant through.

“It’s true that we are in a position where a win may not be enough to qualify, but it has been made clear to the players that we have to remain focused. We cannot take Abahani lightly as they are a strong team,” said Roca.

Bengaluru’s only previous visit here saw the Indian side go 2-0 down against the hosts at the group stages of last year’s AFC Cup campaign.

In a more recent meeting between the sides, Daniel Lalhlimpuia scored a 72nd minute winner at the Kanteerava Stadium in March as the Blues began their continental campaign.

The Saiful Bari Titu-coached Abahani side are out of contention for the knockout stages, winning one in five matches.

But Roca believes there is no room for complacency.

“We have always had close games against Abahani. They are difficult to break down and play in a different style. The conditions are also quite different from what we are used to, so we will have to be wary,” added the Spaniard.

Bengaluru were dealt a late blow when winger Boithang Haokip suffered an injury that kept him out of the traveling squad while right-back Nishu Kumar has joined the team from Kolkata, where he was in action with the club’s reserve squad against Mohammedan Sporting in the 2nd Division League.

Meanwhile, Abahani will miss midfielder Mohammad Fahad, along with Nigerians Sunday Chizoba and defender Ndukaku Alison due to suspension.