AFC Cup 2018: Aizawl FC vs New Radiant SC, Predicted Starting XIs
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup action kickstarts again this week as former I-League champions Aizawl FC host Maldivian champions New Radiant SC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, Assam.
Santosh Kashyap's side will look to end their disastrous AFC Cup campaign on a positive note and win for pride at home against the Dhivehi Premier League champions New Radiant SC.
Aizawl FC have only managed to get 1 point from their AFC Cup run when they drew away against Abahani Dhaka in Bangladesh. A win against New Radiant SC could see them grab their first ever win in the continental championship.
Aizawl FC will be playing in Guwahati as their actual home stadium in Mizoram in not eligible to host AFC Cup matches, however, they will aim to do well against the Maldivian champions and pull out an upset win.
A win for Santosh Kashyap's side will do wonders for Bengaluru FC if they manage to win their fixture against Abahani Dhaka as they will move atop the Group E and progress to the inter-zonal playoffs semi-finals.
Aizawl FC were beaten 5-1 by the Bengaluru FC side in their last encounter but will hope to learn from their mistakes and put on a better show against New Radiant SC, who are as dangerous as the Blues in attack.
Alfred Jaryan and Masih Saighani will play a crucial role in the defensive scheme of things for the Mizo side. The attack will be spearheaded by the foreigner duo of Leonce Dodoz and Andrei Ionescu.
New Radiant SC
The group toppers in the Group E of the AFC Cup have a simple brief going into the match - win the game and progress. They are tied on points with Bengaluru FC at 12 points but are ahead due to the head to head advantage over the Blues. A win over Aizawl FC will seal their qualification to the inter-zonal playoffs semis.
They will be led by their captain and prolific striker Ali Ashfaq who has been amongst the goals in the AFC Cup campaign. He will be ably supported by fellow countryman Ali Fasir behind in the midfield.
They have been defensively stable and only conceded three goals so far in five games. Former Mumbai FC manager Oscar Bruzon will hope his side accomplish their brief and clinch all the three points from this game.
Prediction: Aizawl FC 1-3 New Radiant SC
Aizawl FC are on an incredibly poor run of form with 6 losses in their previous nine matches across all competitions and have not won any in their past five matches. New Radiant SC will be buoyed with their win over Abahani Dhaka and the motivation to progress to the next round.