The hosts have a slender defecit to overturn in the second leg.
Bengaluru FC host Maziya S&RC in the second leg of the AFC Cup 2020 playoff tie. Bengaluru lost 2-1 in the first leg in the Maldives, but will be confident as they go into the second leg with an away goal. Carles Cuadrat fielded a few players from the academy in the away fixture. But, look to go all out in this one, as a good number of the regular starters were rested in their last league game in the build-up to the second leg clash against Maziya.
A win is a must for Bengaluru, whereas a draw would allow Maziya to progress to the next stage of the competition. While a 1-0 win would ensure Bengaluru FC’s qualification, any other scoreline would put the Blues in trouble unless they win by a two-goal margin or more.
The Spaniard seems confident, as his team gear up for a feisty encounter at home with Asian glory at stake. “We know that we have to score minimum one goal. So, we will try to be offensive and try to go for the goal. At the same time, we have to be careful not to concede. We know that 1-0 is enough; it’s 90 minutes, a lot of things can happen.”
The 51-year-old boasted about having a squad full of winners, backed by supporters who push them further to perform better. “It’s very easy for me to keep the winning mentality of these players because they are winners. They have been winning one trophy every season. If you see the players who have been playing finals in 2016, 2017 and 2018, there are eight or nine players in a lot of my lineups.
It shows the consistency of these players getting results. I know how competitive they are and we have three finals in front of us. I think they are arriving ready for these three finals. We are lucky that the two first finals (second leg Vs Maziya and ISL semi-final) are going to be at Kanteerava in front of our supporters. The fans have been helping us so many times in our short history. We have a very good combination with the winning mentality of the players and the supporters at the Fortress.”
The club’s talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri, spoke about how they have prepared for the all-important second leg clash against Maziya. “We already saw the highlights and we’ve prepared for the game well. The whole team knows exactly what to do. We are going to go for it and at the same time be careful as well, any mishap or any goal that we concede is going to make our task difficult. It’s our home, we back ourselves.”
The Blues’ top-scorer also spoke about the misfiring attackers and the lack of goals from other players in the squad. “The pressure and the onus is on the whole team. Me scoring nine goals and the others chipping in is all because of the team efforts. I wouldn’t have scored nine goals without the team.
We are guilty of missing chances, not only me but the whole team, especially the strikers. The silver-lining is we are creating lot of chances. He (Carles Cuadrat) always emphasizes on the fact that we should create chances and goal-scoring will come. This year probably me, Udanta (Singh) and Ashique (Kuruniyan) have been guilty of missing chances, but four games are left and this is our time.”
Chhetri is set to return to the squad after missing out on the past few games. Semboi Haokip will be missing the clash due to injury.