Male (Maldives), August 20 (IANS) Bengaluru FC face a tough task when they host 2021 Bangladesh Premier League champions Bashundhara Kings in their second match of the AFC Cup Group D South Zone at National Football Stadium this Saturday.
Bengaluru FC, led by Sunil Chhetri, suffered a 2-0 defeat in their first match against Indian Super League (ISL) side ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) on Wednesday (August 18) and they will now be under pressure to win against Kings and stay in the hunt for the next round. The Bangladeshi club also beat Maldives Maziya Sports & Recreation 2-0 on 18 August.
Bengaluru FC looked off-color against ATKMB and only a few moments they were no match for Antonio Lopez Habas’ men. Things especially looked out of order in defense and up front. They gave away easy goals to Roy Krishna and Subhasish Bose.
Yrondu Musavu-King, Sarthak Golui and Alan Costa will pick up at the back after regular outings against ATK Mohun Bagan, and before that against the Maldives Club Eagles in their playoffs.
Chhetri did not have a good day today, often losing his footing on the muddy pitch. Brazilian forward Cleiton Silva had a better game than the Bengaluru FC skipper, but he could have done better.
The Bashundhara Kings are a solid team, and their head coach Oscar Bruzon knows something about ISL teams. Bruzon has previously coached in India – he worked as an assistant coach for Mumbai City FC and as head coach for Sporting Clube de Goa. The Bangladeshi club has some top names in their ranks like striker Raul Beccera and winger Robinho who scored against Maziya Sports & Recreation.
The winner of the group qualifies for the semi-final between zones and Bengaluru FC will have to win this game to stay in the hunt. A defeat will close the door on them. This is something head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli does not want to experience so early in his tenure at Bengaluru FC.
However, even a win against the Bashundhara Kings will not help their case if ATK Mohun Bagan beat Maziya Sports & Recreation in today’s second match. With the victory against the Maldivian club, ATKMB will reach six points in two matches, and after beating Bengaluru FC in their first match, they are sure to finish over Pezzaiuoli’s men in the group, which means exit for the 2016 AFC Cup finalists .
So not only will Bengaluru FC have to win against Bashundhara Kings, they will also have to ask that ATKMB not win against Maziya Sports & Recreation in the second match on Saturday.
Bengaluru FC squad: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Sharon Padattil, Lara Sharma, Pratik Chaudhari, Wungngayam Muirang, Ajith Kumar, Ashique Kuruniyan, Parag Srivas, Yrondu Musavu-King, Alan Costa, Sarthak Golui, Biswah Janske Farooq, Rohit Kumar, Muhammad Inayath, Namgyal Bhutia, Ajay Chhetri, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Cleiton Silva, Roshan Singh Naorem, Siva Sakthi, Akashdeep Singh, Bidyashagar Singh, Leon Augustine, Harmanpreet Singh.