The club are one step away from qualifying into the main draw of the continental competition.
Bengaluru FC are up against Club Eagles in their upcoming AFC Cup 2021 playoff fixture. The change of plans are a result of Abahani Dhaka opting out of the tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Indian Super League (ISL) side will now face the club from Maldives on August 15, 2021.
The Blues are favourites going into the fixture after their performance against Tribhuwan Army FC in the AFC Cup Preliminary Round in April. The former ISL champions secured a 5-0 victory over the Nepalese outfit in comfortable fashion. The club’s fans will hope that their players can replicate their performance against Club Eagles as well and qualify for the AFC Cup 2021 group stage.
On that note, Khel Now takes a look at some key players who need to deliver the goods for Bengaluru FC in the all-important fixture:
5. Alan Costa
Alan Costa is yet to start his first game for Bengaluru FC. He will most likely make his debut against Club Eagles and play alongside Yrondu Musavu-King. The Brazilian center-back is a new arrival in the Blues’ ranks and will be the third available foreigner in the squad.
The 30-year-old has arrived on loan from Avai Futebol Clube (SC) that plays in the second-tier of Brazilian league football. The former Internacional player will like to start his stint with BFC on a strong note. The fans of the club will be closely observing his performance before the Indian season starts later this year.
4. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Club Eagles are a sound attacking team and could spring a surprise against the ISL outfit. In a scenario where the team find themselves on the back foot, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will need to step up. The custodian must command the box well and collect any aerial balls that come his way without an error.
Moreover, the team tend to play out from the back and Gurpreet must remain calm when in possession of the ball. In the likely event that BFC end up with more possession, the goalkeeper will have to distribute well to instigate attacks. Above all, the 29-year-old must look to secure another clean-sheet.
3. Yrondu Musavu-King
Yrondu Musavu-King is one of the two new center-backs in the team. He will lead the backline in the absence of Juanan, who has left the club. The Spaniard has joined Hyderabad FC which means the Gabonese defender Musavu-King will be the figure under focus.
The 29-year-old started his first game for the Blues in the previous AFC Cup qualification fixture against Tribhuwan Army FC. The outfit won the game 5-0 and Musavu-King looked very comfortable in a new atmosphere, playing alongside his new teammates.
2. Cleiton Silva
Cleiton Silva scored a brilliant brace in the game against Tribhuwan Army. The forward is the most obvious threat going forward for Marco Pezzaiouli’s men. The Brazilian has carried his form forward from the ISL 2020-21 season, where he scored seven goals and assisted four times.
Silva has been lethal in the final third and has played a crucial role in build-up play as well. He will shoulder the responsibility of finding the back of the net for his team.
1. Sunil Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri remains the most indispensable player for BFC. The skipper also found himself on the scoresheet against Tribhuwan Army in the previous fixture. Chhetri has been efficient playing on the left wing and has the tendency to drop deep to influence attacking maneuvers.
The opposition will be wary of the threat posed by the forward who has linked up well with Cleiton Silva. The defenders will be extra vigilant, but Chhetri could be unplayable with his experience, movement and unpredictable runs in the final third. The tactician will rely on the Bengaluru FC skipper to lead by example against Club Eagles.