AFC Cup 2018: Bengaluru FC and Aizawl FC's Group E schedule, full list of matches and dates
Bengaluru FC was the runners-up in the 2016 edition of the AFC Cup.
I-League winners Aizawl FC will begin their AFC Cup campaign against known foes in the likes of Bengaluru FC in March this year. The team from the North-eastern part of India lost their AFC Champions League playoff round to Iran’s Zob Ahan and were placed in Group ‘E’ of the AFC Cup along with New Radiant of Maldives, Bengaluru FC and Bangladesh-based side Dhaka Abahahani.
Meanwhile, the Sunil Chhetri-led side has been impressive in the season so far, winning their qualifiers against Transport United and Maldives’ TC Sports Club to qualify for the main round. The JSW group owned side has been performing well in the continental cup since they made their debut. In 2016, they lost in the final by a whisker to Iraq’s Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya.
The Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium will host the clash of the two Indian teams on 7th March, the first day of the continental competition. Although, the Blue outfit is by far the stronger team on paper, yet playing in the North-East with the support of the locals is set to make Bengaluru's job all the more difficult.
Bengaluru FC made their first appearance in the Indian Super League earlier this year and have been in red-hot form having already qualified for the knockout stages. They have won a total of 11 matches out of the 16 they played. Following their tie against Aizawl FC, they will host Dhaka Abahani a week later at the Shree Kanteerava Stadium, while Aizawl will travel to Male to face New Radiant.
Aizawl have had a mixed season so far with lots of highs and lows in the domestic league. The players, who led them to the historic triumph last year shifted their loyalties towards other clubs, including their former coach Khalid Jamil. Portuguese coach Paulo Meneses has still done a decent job to re-build the team but they lost the champions' touch. With just 4 wins from 15 matches, Aizawl FC are at the 7th spot on the I-League table.
Group Stage Fixtures
March 7: Aizawl FC (Away)
March 14: Dhaka Abahani (Home)
April 11: New Radiant (Home)
April 25: New Radiant (Away)
May 2: Aizawl FC (Home)
May 2: Dhaka Abahani (Away)
March 7: Bengaluru FC (Home)
March 14: New Radiant (Away)
April 11: Dhaka Abahani (Home)
April 25: Dhaka Abahani (Away)
May 2: Bengaluru FC (Away)
May 16: New Radiant (Home)