Bengaluru’s AFC Cup Group Stage Games Begin As They Face Bangladeshi Side Abahani Dhaka


The AFC Cup is finally back in India! Bengaluru have to switch their attention to the AFC Cup as they host Bangladeshi side Dhaka Abahani, in their first group stage game. I’m not going to lie, I’m not going to stand here and claim I am an expert on Bangladeshi football so this piece may seem a little biased, which I can only apologise for. Anyway, enough of my sob story, let’s get straight to the stats. 

The Stats…   

Bengaluru go into the game with a 1st place finish in the ISL this season. However, they haven’t played a group stage game in the AFC Cup yet, so they sit 3rd. In the league this season they’ve not stopped scoring, managing to bag an impressive thirty-five goals. Defensively, they were the best side in the league, only allowing sixteen goals in. Inform would be an understatement when you are talking about Bengaluru, with their unbeaten streak being at fourteen games, across all competitions. They had a great qualifying campaign and aren’t looking to throw this opportunity away anytime soon.    

Dhaka go into the game after completing their domestic double, winning the league and cup competitions. Dhaka have a 100% record at home last season, so Bengaluru will be happy that they are at home for the first game. Impressively, they only lost twice over the course of last season, however, it will be a different kettle of fish when it comes to the teams they meet in the AFC Cup. Dhaka have already played once in the group stages, losing 1-0 to Maldives side, New Radiant. With this loss, they sit bottom of the table.    

Previous Encounter…   

Miraculously, these two sides have played each other before, funnily enough, they were in the same group last year. Jake and I were thinking of a section to replace this one and after hard consideration, Jake finally remembered they faced each other last year. I think we need to send him off to Bangladesh for the year as he isn’t fit to report on the ISL now.   

Anyway, like I just mentioned, they found themselves in the same group as each other last year. Bengaluru won the first game, where they were the hosts, 2-0. However, they struggled in Bangladesh and lost 2-0, so it’ll be interesting to see how these two sides have progressed over the last year.   

The Game Itself…   

Now, I must admit, I have never seen Dhaka play football before. Yes, I know, It’s shocking. So, I can’t really comment on how they will play against Bengaluru. Another thing to consider is whether or not Bengaluru will play the likes of Miku and Chhetri, when they have the ISL final at the weekend.   

However, if Bengaluru play like they have been in the ISL, and the AFC qualification games, then I can’t see Dhaka stopping them. I can see Bengaluru controlling the game and having the best chances of the two sides.    

Key Player…   

Now, thanks to Jake, I have some information on two Dhaka players. Emeka Darlington was the star of their domestic cup win, scoring three goals. Their other hitman is known as Sunday Chizoba, who managed nine goals in ten games, so he can definitely cause Bengaluru some issues.    

Bengaluru have some stars amongst their ranks, however, we don’t know if they will appear because of that all-important ISL final on the horizon. Toni Dovale and Boithang Haokip have been the stars in their AFC campaign so far, so I am picking Toni as my Key Player in the game.   


With all this being said, I will simply leave you with this. I think, no matter what the starting eleven is like, Bengaluru will beat Dhaka two or three nil. However, I could be wrong and the Bangladeshi side may surprise a few and beat Bengaluru. Who knows? All I know is that I am looking forward to Bengaluru’s journey, however far it takes them.    

About the Author

Stephen Beavon
Just a young football fan who likes to get his opinion across to others. Love Birmingham City, although it is difficult at times.