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  Sports   Football  18 Apr 2017  Men in Blue out to make it count

Men in Blue out to make it count

THE ASIAN AGE. | SANDEEP MENON
Published : Apr 18, 2017, 12:53 am IST
Updated : Apr 18, 2017, 12:53 am IST

A look at their season will show that the Men of Steel are in their best run of form this season.

Bengaluru FC players warm-up at a practice session. (Photo: Asian Age)
 Bengaluru FC players warm-up at a practice session. (Photo: Asian Age)

Bengaluru: Having relinquished their hold on the I-League, Bengaluru FC will look to continue their momentum in the AFC Cup when they host Abahani Dhaka in their Group E tie at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Tuesday.

The home side are on top of the table with six points, three ahead of Mohun Bagan, while Abahani are rock bottom following two losses from two rounds.

On paper there is little doubt who will line-up as firm favourites. After all, BFC are last season’s finalists while this is the visitors’ first AFC cup campaign. The hosts are at the tail-end of their league campaign and Abahani has played just two matches this calendar year, it all but points to one outcome.

But as it is often said, football is not played on paper.

A look at their season will show that the Men of Steel are in their best run of form this season, coming off the back of three straight wins. The last time that happened was after their first three matches of the season.

In spite of the upturn in form, the Men in Blue will line up without suspended Sandesh Jhingan and Cameron Watson while goalkeeper Amrinder Singh, wingers Udanta Singh and C.K. Vineeth are out with niggles. They will also be without coach Albert Roca, who is serving a touchline ban.

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh side are not in the best of situations either.

In addition to the squad going through a massive upheaval in terms of players transfers, the Drago Mamic-coached side will be without Nigerian defender Samad Yussif who failed to receive visa on time. Despite this, in Emeka Darlington and midfielder Sohel Rana, the travelling side has players capable of making an impact.

Zooming out and looking from a broader perspective, there is more riding in this match than a win or loss. The AFC Cup's new format has made things harder for Indian clubs to make their presence felt at the continental level. With just one team advancing from the Group, it has cemented the fate of one of the two, admittedly fancied, Indian sides.

As it stands, BFC hold the coveted spot and if things go according to the script, the most likely scenario is that the clubs will decide their fate when they meet in Kolkata for the group’s last match.

But for that mouthwatering clash to keep its significance, it is imperative that the Garden City club, for whom this may well be the best chance to save their season, rack up maximum points in all their remaining games. Starting with Abahani on Tuesday.

Tags: i-league, bengaluru fc, mohun bagan