AFC Cup: Bengaluru FC up against Tampines Rovers in quarter finals
Indian champions Bengaluru FC have been drawn against Singapore side Tampines Rovers in the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup. Rovers had earlier eliminated Mohun Bagan in the previous leg of the competition, winning 2-1 in their game at the Indira Gandhi Stadium at Guwahati.
Bengaluru FC, who had struggled in their initial group games of the competition came into their own in the round of 16 fixture against Hong Kong-based side Kitchee SC.
They created history, beating the South-East Asian side 3-2 in an away fixture to advance to the last eight of the competition for the first time in their history. Sunil Chhetri was again the main man for the side. The Indian national team skipper, who was playing in spite of carrying a niggling hamstring injury was good enough to bag a brace that helped Ashley Westwood and his men clinch a memorable away victory.
The reigning I-league champions, however, will be going into the game without their coach Ashley Westwood who parted ways with the South Indian club after three years at the helm. Bengaluru FC, who came into being in 2013, went on to win the I-League in their debut season under the guidance of the Englishman.
The Steelmen under Westwood, soon grew into one the most feared sides in Indian football with results to match. The man from Manchester, in fact, won trophies in all three seasons he was in charge of Bengaluru. They followed their I-League triumph in 2013-14, with the Federation cup last season, losing out narrowly to Mohun Bagan in the I-League stakes. This season, however, saw the Bengaluru reclaiming their I-League crown, winning it with one game to spare.
Bengaluru FC will play host to the first leg of the tie at the Kanteerva stadium on 14th September with the return leg set a week later on 21st. With Ashley Westwood, now gone from the sidelines, it will be interesting to see who takes over at Bengaluru.
The full draw is as follows:
|Air Force Club (Iraq)||vs||Al Jaish (Syria)|
|Al Ahed (Morocco)||vs||Al Muharraq (Bahrain)|
|South China (HKG)||vs||Johor Darul Ta’zim (Malaysia)|
|Bengaluru FC (India)||vs||Tampines Rovers (Singapore)|