AFC Cup: All you need to know about Blue Star SC, ATK Mohun Bagan’s Playoff opponents

Hero Indian Super League (ISL) side ATK Mohun Bagan will take on Sri Lanka’s Blue Star SC in Preliminary Round 2 of the South Asia zone qualifying Playoffs at the Salt Lake stadium on Tuesday.

ATK Mohun Bagan qualified for the AFC Cup playoff after finishing second in the Hero ISL 2020-21 campaign while Blue Star SC made the cut by virtue of being champions of Sri Lanka.

Ahead of the crucial meeting between the two teams, here’s a detailed look at Blue Star SC.

History

Founded in 1978, Blue Star SC are a club hailing from the city of Kalutara, south of the capital Colombo. The Blues as they are called have won the Sri Lankan top-flight twice. Their triumph in 2021 was their second title after they won the Sri Lanka Champions League (then Sri Lanka Premier League) in 2004.

Blue Star SC have never appeared in AFC competitions and this season is their debut in the AFC Cup.

Form Guide: WWWWW

Blue Star SC ended the Sri Lanka Champions League in fine fashion winning their last five matches to clinch the title by three points. Playing in their first-ever AFC club competition match, they defeated Machchindra of Nepal in the first round of the preliminary qualifying playoff match of the AFC Cup, winning the match 2-1. The victory set them up for a clash against ATK Mohun Bagan in the second round.

Head-to-head record

Blue Star SC and ATK Mohun Bagan will meet for the first time.

Key Players

Snehal Sandesh: Blue Star SC’s star forward was the top scorer in the 2021 Sri Lanka Champions League with ten goals, helping the team to their second title. Sandesh also scored in the team’s 2-1 win over Machchindra FC of Nepal in the previous round.

Mohamad Fazal: The defensive midfielder is one of the experienced players in the Blue Star SC ranks. Having appeared for the Sri Lanka national team for more than 20 occasions, Fazal will look to keep the likes of Hugo Boumous and Joni Kauko under check. With ATK Mohun Bagan expected to have the lion’s share of possession, Fazal’s role in the team becomes very important.

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