After a slow start in the I-league, Bengaluru FC will look for a turnaround when they take on Maldives side Maziya Sports and Recreation club in Group E’s opening AFC Cup match tomorrow.
The defending I-League champions have managed just a point from three matches so far.
“We don’t know much about Mazia. We know that they have three international players and also few Maldivians as well. They are going to be a strong side. Nevertheless, we would like to win to gain confidence, before we end our domestic quest this season, which has been on a slower side this year,” coach Ashley Westwood told reporters.
Playing for the first time in AFC Cup, Bengaluru FC will be banking on captain Sunil Chhetri, who has not been among goals this season.
Westwood backed him saying, “Scoring a goal every two matches stands perfect in the position he is playing”.
“The goals will come, and everybody in this club is backing me and are not pressurising. Definitely, I am also backing myself. The goals will come,” Chhetri added.
Bengaluru FC have the chance to become the first Indian side to seal a berth in the AFC Champions League group stage if they manage to win three consecutive play-off matches.
Talking about injuries, Westwood said everybody is fit and are looking forward to tomorrow’s contest.
Bengaluru FC will also depend on Joshua Walker to create openings, while Sean Rooney and Chhetri will be expected to be clinical in front of goal.
The other teams in the Group are - Persipura Jayapura of Indonesia, and Warriors of Singapore. Asked about the team’s chances of qualifying, Westwood said, “To be honest, I really do not know. I don’t know what players are available for the matches.”