AFC Cup 2018: The Scenarios - How Bengaluru FC can qualify for knockout round
Despite being one of the top sides in the group, Bengaluru FC face a difficult qualification scenario.
We are nearing the end of the 2018 AFC Cup group stage, as both Bengaluru FC and Aizawl FC look to give one last push against their respective opponents.
While Bengaluru FC are still in contention to make it to the knockout stage of the competition, Aizawl's hopes have been dashed, as the Mizoram side currently stands at the bottom of the group with just one point from five matches.
The Blues have done well so far in the tournament, and have earned 12 points from five matches, a scenario that would normally them in a good position to book themselves a spot in the knockout stages. However, one loss away at New Radiant SC on Matchday 4 has put their chances in jeopardy, and now the Blues would be looking for some help from Aizawl, in order to make it to the next rounds.
Bengaluru FC may have won four out of their five matches, but a 2-0 loss at the hands of New Radiant in Male seems to have cost them dearly, for now. While the Blues are level on points with the Maldivian outfit, their progression is now not in their hands anymore.
The main issue lies with the head-to-head stats between Bengaluru and New Radiant. Both sides have won their respective home matches against the other. However, the Maldivian side edges ahead on the fact that the won their home game 2-0, while Bengaluru had only got a 1-0 victory at the Kanteerava.
For this, Albert Roca's men would be looking for some help from Aizawl, who are set to play against New Radiant at the same time. If the men from the Mizo capital can nick some points off New Radiant, and Bengaluru win their match in Dhaka, the Blues will make it through to the next round.
Yet another scenario is that if Bengaluru FC get a draw in Dhaka, they would require Aizawl to get all three points against New Radiant, something that the Mizo side has not been able to do as of yet.
Whatever be the case, though, New Radiant have the clear upper hand in this race, as of now, and Bengaluru FC can only put in their best effort in the Bangladesh capital, and hope for the best.