AFC Cup 2018, Inter-zone Semifinal 1st Leg, Bengaluru FC vs Altyn Asyr: Predicted Line-Ups
After more than three months break from Club Football, the season is finally taking shape for India's Premier Football Clubs.
With East Bengal and Mohun Bagan already plying their trade in the ever competitive Calcutta Football League, Bengaluru FC is set for much bigger strides to take before the domestic season as they lock horns with Turkmen side Altyn Asyr in the AFC Cup Interzone Semi-Final 1st Leg tie in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
The Blues come into this game by the virtue of a nail-biting Group Stage finish as they hammered Dhaka Abahani in the final game but had to rely on I-League side Aizawl FC to overcome group leaders New Radiant SC.
The scenario seemed extremely bleak for the Blues given New Radiant's brilliant run in the tournament. However, Aizawl FC did pull off the unlikely and awarded Bengaluru FC, qualification to the Inter-zone Semi-Final.
Altyn Asyr had similar scenarios to deal with as well. They were trailing to last year's runners-up Istiklol in the Final Group game with Istikol on top of the table.
The game was evenly matched at 2-2 only to be won by Asyr courtesy a 90th-minute winner making it 3-2 and sending Asyr into the next round while Istiklol were sent back home.
The game kicks-off at 8 PM at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru. The second leg is on 1st September at the Kopetdag Stadium, Ashgabat in Turkmenistan.
Let us have a look at the possible Line-ups to be fielded by Carlos Cuadrat in his debut game as the Head Coach of Bengaluru FC along with the team news.
The Blues have included new signing Xisco Hernandez in the squad while Harmanjot Singh Khabra is diagnosed by Chicken Pox and is likely to miss the mega clash. Dimas Delgado misses out due to an injury sustained in Spain while Cuadrat has included thirteen boys from the Reserves side who plied their trade for the Blues in the BDFA 1st Division, I-League 2nd Division and the U-18 Y-League in the previous season. Miku's inclusion in the squad will be an important factor as well.
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Soram Poirei, Aditya Patra
Defenders: Juanan Gonzalez, Rahul Bheke, Harmanjot Khabra, Sairuat Kima, Rino Anto, Nishu Kumar, Asheer Akhtar, Gursimrat Singh Gill, Biswa Darjee, Rakesh Oram
Midfielders: Xisco Hernandez, Erik Paartalu, Robinson Singh, Bidyananda Singh, Boithang Haokip, Kean Lewis, Altamash Sayed, Ajay Chhetri, Naorem Roshan Singh, Namgyal Bhutia, Lalengzama Vangchhia, Myron Mendes, Leon Augustine
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Thongkhosiem Haokip, Miku, Udanta Singh
Predicted Line Ups for Bengaluru FC (3-4-3) : Sandhu (GK), Juanan, Bheke, Nishu Kumar, Boithang Haokip, Kean Lewis, Paartulu, Xisco, Sunil Chhetri, Miku, Udanta Singh
Sunil Chhetri: The Captain will be key to Bengaluru FC's performance on the pitch as usual. His role will be imminent in creating chances for Miku upfront and act more like a withdrawing support striker. Chhetri's excellence over set-pieces could prove pivotal in the game as his free-kicks have often been the sole source of wins in crunch games where goals were tough to find. His charisma and leadership on the pitch will sure play a part to keep the spirit up in the Blues throughout the 90 minutes.
Miku: Miku's debut for Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup is highly awaited as he along with Chhetri formed a lethal force in the Indian Super League and the Super Cup in the previous season, notching up a total of 42 goals between them making the most dangerous duo in Indian Football.
Udanta Singh: Udanta's sudden outburst at the right with pinpoint crosses to Miku and Chhetri will be crucial to Bengaluru FC's showing over the Turkmen side. Udanta has helped Bengaluru win many games in the past using his quick crosses and agility one and off the ball.
Hojageldiyev prefers a 4-4-2 formation as he did against Istiklol in their last AFC Cup game. Asyr, also known as the Signalmen in Turkmenistan will heavily rely on strikers Altymyrat Annadurdyyev and Murat Yakshiev upfront. The duo has 11 goals between them already in the ongoing AFC Cup.
Mekan Ashrov and Umidjan Astanaov will have to fight for their place in the team's midfield as both play in the midfield and are left wingers. The Turkmen side has immense quality up in their ranks and it is going to be no easy game for the two time I-League Champions.
Goalkeepers: Mamed Orazmuhamedov, Nurgeldy Astanov
Defenders: Zafar Babajanov, Shohrat Soyunov, Mekan Saparov, Seyitmyrat Charyyev, Serdar Annaorazov, Gurbangeldi Batyrov, Annasahet Annasahedov
Midfielders: Umidjan Astanaov, Furkat Tursunov, Selim Atayev, Begmyrat Bayov, Resul Hojayev, Mekan Ashrov, Velmyrat Ballakov, Serdar Geldiyev;
Forwards: Altymyrat Annadurdyyev, Gurbangeldi Sahedov, Selim Nurmuradov, Murat Yakshiev, Akmyrat Jumanazarov, Mihail Titov
Player to watch out for :
Altymyrat Annadurdyyev: After beginning his professional career with FC Aha, Annadurdyyev has become a crucial part of both the Turkmen National side and Altyn Asyr in the past two years. Annadurdyyev is the joint top scorer in the ongoing AFC Cup and notched up eight goals in fourteen games in the 2018 Yokari Liga, the top division of Turkmen Football.
Annadurdyyev and Murat Yakshiev's duo will be a big challenge for the BFC defence to hold off.
With the 2018 AFC Cup all set to be final appearance at the Asian Level for Bengaluru FC in the next two seasons as they failed to win the Indian Super League last season, the Blues will be all prepped up for this challenge and are likely to go all out in the tie, get the goals and concede as less as possible in a bid to travel to Turkmenistan with a comfortable lead to defend. A 2-1 win to Bengaluru FC looks likely.
What are your takes on Cuadrat's decision of dropping Chencho Gyeltshen? With Dimas and Khabra out of contention for tomorrow's game, can the Blues contain the threat possessed by the Asyr strikers Annadurdyyev and Makshiev? Comment down your opinions and predictions of the game.