4/9/2018 8:17:38 PM (GMT+3)

Roca hopes to maintain winning run in AFC Cup

Roca hopes to maintain winning run in AFC Cup

BANGALORE, India: Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca said he hoped his team will maintain the winning run when they face New Radiant SC in a 2018 AFC Cup group stage clash here on Tuesday.

The hosts have won their six previous AFC Cup games on the trot.

“New Radiant are a very good side as they’ve quality players. We saw them against Aizawl and in Dhaka. We’re sure we will have to be at our best,” said the Spaniard at a pre-match Press conference on Monday.

The Blues have reached the semifinal stage for two consecutive seasons.

Bengaluru claimed a 1-0 win at the Fortress in their opening match of the 2018 AFC Cup group stages with a win against Abahani Dhaka before a 3-1 away defeat of Aizawl in Guwahati earlier this month.

Striker Daniel Lalhlimpuia scored in both games, and could be set to make a start.

“We have some in-form players and others who have been waiting for their chance. I will have to rest a few key players because we’ve a Super Cup quarterfinal. I’m sure those who take the field will give their best,” Roca added.

Bengaluru lead Group E with two wins from as many games, having scored four and conceded one.

They also boast a perfect record against Maldivian sides, with six wins from as many matches in the previous three seasons of the continental competition.

The only major doubt for the Blues is central However, centre-back Juanan Gonzalez is doubtful for tomorrow’s match as he is nursing an injury sustained in the Indian Super League.

New Radiant, AFC Cup semifinalists in 2005 and the only Maldivian club to have progressed beyond group stages in the AFC cup on multiple occasions, come into the game with numbers identical to those of Roca’s men, having won their opening game against Aizawl 3-1 in Henveiru, before a 1-0 win against Abahani Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Talismanic striker Ali Ashfaq is the man in form and Roca admits the Bengaluru back line will need to be sharper than usual.

“We were upset with the way we conceded against Aizawl. But we showed character to come back. We cannot afford to make those mistakes against New Radiant,” said Roca.