Bengaluru FC look to overturn slender deficit in second leg against Altyn Asyr
Written by: Punit Tripathi
The Blues will try to take inspiration from the first leg and beat the Signalmen on their soil to cruise to the Interzonal final.
Bengaluru FC will play Altyn Asyr in the second leg of their AFC Cup Interzonal semi-final on Wednesday in Turkmenistan. Trailing 3-2 from the first leg, the Indian club have a lot to do to ensure a passage to the final and that should start by continuing the good work they did in the second half of the first leg.
Asyr, meanwhile, will be content to sit back and digest possession. The club will need to ensure that their defense is air-tight and concedes none, as Bengaluru need at least a result of 2-0 to ensure qualification, which looks like a big task at the moment.
About the Teams
The JSW Group-owned club were slow off the blocks in their first competitive game in four months. The Blues grew into the second half and ensured they had something to take to the Kopetdag Stadium, Asyr’s home.
Asyr, on the other hand, will be wary of Bengaluru’s ability to soak up possession when they look to get on the front foot, something they showed in abundance in the second half. Asyr dominated possession and scored thrice, with slick interchange in passing and some smart finishing.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu gave away two goals in the first leg, something the burly goalkeeper must prevent if he wants his side to continue their ascension. Sunil Chhetri, too, will need to come more into the game and shake off his markers to make a more lasting impression on the contest, something the Blues’ fans would be expecting.
Altyn Asyr are also a dominant force, having won the top division in Turkmenistan twice in the last four seasons. Helped by Süleýman Muhadow’s raw goalscoring abilities, Asyr will easily be a force to reckon with for the Chhetri-led side in the second leg as well.
The second leg will be played at the Kopetdag Stadium in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on Wednesday. With a capacity of 26,503, the stadium is one of the largest in the country and was renovated recently in 2015.
Manager: Carles Cuadrat
Altyn Asyr FK
Orazmuhamedow, Annaorazow, Babajanow, Charyyev, Mirsultanov, Astanow, Batyrow, Aşyrow, Hojaýew, Bayov, Muhadow
Manager: Ýazguly Hojageldyýew
What to Expect
A battle of willpower is on the cards. With a mercurial leader in Chhetri who likes to give nothing away until the final whistle, Bengaluru have in their ranks a man who has pulled them out of the fire time and again. The Blues were in a similar situation in the second leg at home two years ago and won the match 3-1, with Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Chhetri starring.
Asyr, though, are a rigid side and their defense will be working on set-pieces, something that broke them easily in the first leg. Rahul Bheke, Erik Paartalu and Juanan will need to ensure the club has enough security at the back and enough heads on the free-kicks.
Published: Tue Aug 28, 2018 06:35 PM IST