Bengaluru look to home support at the Fortress to help them overcome Maziya
Bengaluru FC will host Maldivian side Maziya S&RC in a Playoff Round second leg clash of the 2020 AFC Cup at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday, in a bid to overturn a 2-1 first leg loss they suffered at the Maldives National Football Stadium, in Male, last week. With their Asian dream on the line, Carles Cuadrat and Co. will look to the home crowd at the Fortress to give them the extra edge in the crunch fixture.
Reiterating the same at the pre-match press conference, Bengaluru head coach Cuadrat noted, “We are lucky we’ll be playing front of our supporters. They pushed our kids to get a point against ATK on Saturday, and that was very nice. In our short history, they (the home fans) helped us in the 3-1 against Johor, the 3-1 against FC Pune City in the 2017-18 semifinals and the 3-0 against NorthEast last season. It's a good combination, the winning mentality of these players and the support of our fans.”
“It's very easy for me to keep the winning mentality in this team because they are winners. They have been winning a trophy every season. There are a lot of players in my line ups who have played in big matches,” he added.
Bengaluru do have an away goal from the first leg boosting their chances but the equation becomes a lot more complicated, should they concede. “We know that we have to score at least one goal, so we will be offensive. At the same time, we have to be careful not to concede. We have 90 minutes and a lot of things can happen,” Cuadrat opined on the matter.
The Spaniard also informed that striker Semboi Haokip, midfielder Dimas Delgado and defender Albert Serran will not be featuring in the match. “Semboi is on his way to the hospital at the moment. He's not available for Wednesday, and we're trying to see the extent of his injury and how long he will recover. Dimas isn't playing and neither is Albert and that is the reason I used them in the last Hero ISL game. The players are really fit (looking forward) for the special 'final' against Maziya,” he revealed.
However, captain Sunil Chhetri, who missed Bengaluru’s last few matches owing to an injury, is likely to be back in the squad. “I had a hamstring strain about three weeks ago and it feels good to be training with the team again. I'm feeling positive now, and I'm taking it one day at a time,” said Chhetri.
Speaking about the match at hand, the 35-year-old noted, “I think we already saw the highlights in Maldives, the whole team knows what is to be done. Any goal we concede can make the task difficult. We're going to do our best.”