AFC Cup 2018: "It's going to be a challenge that will need our best," says Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca
What's the story?
With one game left in the AFC Cup group stages, Bengaluru FC face a tough task ahead as even a win against Abhani Dhaka may not ensure qualification to the knockouts. BFC will want Aizwal to knock points off New Radiant SC if the Blues have to make it out of the group.
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After a lacklustre display against New Radiant SC in a 2-0 loss away from home, Bengaluru FC's Asian dreams took a huge blow. Both New Radiant SC and Bengaluru FC are level on 12 points and only one team makes it out of the group. The Maldivian club holds the edge over BFC courtesy of a 2-1 aggregate head-to-head score.
The heart of the matter
However, Blues coach Albert Roca wants the team to treat this as a must-win game regardless of how the other result shapes up. In a presser, Albert Roca said, "We had one bad game in the Maldives and that has put us back. But that's the reality we must accept. We must do everything to win this game."
The Spaniard is aware that the task in hand is not an easy one as Abhani Dhaka beat BFC 2-0 at home in the group stage of the 2016-17 campaign.
"If we know anything from our trip to Bangladesh last year, tomorrow (Wednesday) is not going to be easy at all. It's going to be a challenge that will need our best. We have always had close games against Abahani Dhaka, as they are difficult to break down and play a different style of football," he said.
The conditions in Bangladesh are also quite different from what we are used to, so we will have to be wary if we are to do well and take anything away from this game," said Roca.
The gaffer, aware of the situation in hand wants nothing but the best from his team, “It’s true that we are in a position where a win may not be enough to qualify, but it has been made clear to the players that we have to remain focused on the task ahead. We cannot take Abahani (Limited Dhaka) lightly, as they are a team with some good players and we have seen that in our travels here before.”
The chances of qualification for BFC is not high but Albert Roca wants his team to do everything in their hand to ensure qualification. The 55-year-old said, "We want to create better chances and create more possibilities for us to win. Our options to qualify are less but we need to accept the situation and go for the win."
Bengaluru FC will not only have to beat Abhani Dhaka away but also hope that Aizwal FC knocks points off New Radiant at home. Another scenario that would see the Blues going through would be Bengaluru FC drawing against Abhani Dhaka and Aizawl who have nothing to play for, but pride pulling off an upset over the Maldivian club.
Luck plays a huge role in modern football and Bengaluru FC will be banking on both, ability and luck if they are to progress any further in this competition. Bengaluru FC followed a campaign in 2015-16 which saw them reach the finals with another impressive run in the 2016-17 season where they made it to the semis.
The squad has enough quality to progress further but one bad game caused a huge blow to their campaign. All hope is not lost, however. The Blues will throw everything they have at Abhani Dhaka and hope that Aizawl do the same against New Radiant.