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 May 11, 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. 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.
Juanan will shoulder the responsibility of keeping the opposition attackers at bay. The defender was excellent in leading the backline against Tribhuwan Army, earning a well-deserved clean-sheet in the process.
The Spaniard has forged a solid partnership with new signing Yrondu Musavu-King. The centre-back will need to be on the lookout for attackers like Mohamed Naim, who could hurt the Indian outfit if they are not careful.
3. Erik Paartalu
Erik Paartalu plays a mighty important role in the heart of the midfield. The Australian provides cover to the backline and also initiates attacking moves from the defensive third. He is vital in disrupting the passing gameplay of the opposition and keeping hold of possession.
He has been instrumental for Bengaluru FC for the past few years and has formed a good partnership with players like Suresh Singh Wangjam. The battle of the midfield must be won in order to dominate proceedings and this is where Paartalu will play a huge role.
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.