Amidst all the chaos of the Super Cup, we completely missed the fact that Bengaluru were playing Aizawl in the AFC Cup until it had already kicked off meaning the chance of getting a preview out was dashed and we had to make to do with just a report, which incidentally, you can read here.
Something’s Gotta Give
No such mistake this week though as I am on the ball, well so he claims anyway. Later on today, Bengaluru host New Radiant or NRSC for short in a Group E AFC Cup game where to simply put it, something has got to give.
After a brace of games, both teams have a 100% record. In fact, it’s even spookier than that as they’ve both scored four and conceded one also which makes you think there may be a dark overlord at work. Well, ok, maybe not, but it’s nice to let your imagination run wild every once in a while, you should give it a go.
Going into the game, you’d have to have Bengaluru down as the favourites based on the fact that their squad is bigger, although, it can’t be ignored that they’ve got a Super Cup quarter-final on Friday, so Roca will have to be intelligent when it comes to team selection.
Nonetheless, if one of the two was going to be prioritised, it would be the AFC Cup and all the glory that comes with it because there’s not even in a continental place on the line when it comes to the Super Cup. Knowing Roca like I do, though, he’ll want to win both of them, saying that, there is every possibility he could underestimate NRSC and end up with egg on his face. Interesting times lie ahead. Disclaimer: I don’t know Roca at all.
Home Advantage Could Prove Vital
Home advantage will play a big part in this game and we could end up seeing Bengaluru beating them in Bangalore and then NRSC coming out on top in the Maldives when the return fixture is played, only time will tell.
Last time out, NRSC beat Aizawl in Male rather comfortably in the end as they ran out 3-1 winners; it is worth noting that two out of the three of NRSC’s goals did come after Aizawl were reduced to ten men, nevertheless, you can only beat what is in front of you. Ali Ashfaq scored all three against Aizawl and will evidently have to be the one that the defence keeps a close eye on.
Bengaluru’s gaffer, Albert Roca did issue a rallying cry of sorts to the Bengaluru supporters for them to come out in numbers as he said:
“I’m sure it isn’t easy to make the Fortress on weekdays for AFC Cup games, but we have always fed off your energy and I cannot stress how important your presence in big numbers is to us.”
He’s got a point regarding the attendances as they have been piss poor in the AFC games, a grand total of 1,051 turned out for their opening group game against Abahani Dhaka which I don’t understand at all. Another thing I don’t quite understand is the part about it not being easy to make it on weekdays for AFC Cup games, why is it more difficult for those games? Do they all get time off work for league games or something?
Get To The Ground!
To be fair, looking back over the season, they played Jamshedpur at home on a Thursday which pulled a crowd of 12,564 and Kerala on a Thursday which drew 25,000+ so the midweek support is there, maybe they’re just not arsed about the AFC Cup which I find most bizarre.
Luckily, here at ISL UK HQ, we are bothered by it which is why you need not look any further than here to find out what happens between Bengaluru & New Radiant!
Until the next time.