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BFC eye win to start AFC group stage campaign on a high

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Bengaluru: High on confidence after making it to the final of the Indian Super League in their first season, Bengaluru FC would look to begin their AFC Cup group stage campaign on a high note with a win over Abahani Dhaka Limited here today.

Bengaluru are going into the match with their tails up after an enthralling 3-1 win against FC Pune City in the second leg of the Indian Super League on March 11 here.

In contrast, the Bangladesh Premier League champions Abahani have come here after a 0-1 loss to Maldives' New Rediant Club in their backyard.

Bengaluru have made it to the group stage after routing T C Sports of Maldives 5-0 in the second leg here on February 21 with a splendid hat-trick by Toni Dovale. The other two goals were scored by Erik Paartalu and Rahul Bheke.

This is not the first time Bengaluru are facing Abahani. They had met each other last April here when Bengaluru had emerged 2-0 winners, riding on Nishu Kumar and Marjan Jugovic's goals. Bengaluru skipper Sunil Chhetri and Miku, who are in tremendous form, would like to continue with their flare  of getting goals for the side.

In the last match, Chhetri came up with a magnificent hat-trick. Between Chhetri and Miku, both have scored 27 goals in ISL, with 13 and 14 strikes respectively. Semboi Haokip and Erik Paartulu will also be looking to repeat their AFC Cup performance.

Apart from possessing some top class strikers and effective mid-fielders, Bengaluru boast of having India's number one goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in their ranks. Sandhu had been able to bring up some spectacular saves at crucial stages of the matches.

Abahani, on the other hand, will be banking on their strikers Emeka Darlington and Sunday Chizoba, besides the fresh inclusions of Japanese midfielder Seiya Kojima and Nigerian defender Nigerian Alison Udoka.

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