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Preview: AFC Cup - Maziya Sports and Recreation Club vs Bengaluru FC

SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 28 Apr 2015, 14:46 IST
Preview
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Maziya Sports and Recreation Club host Bengaluru FC in a crucial AFC Cup encounter today

Bengaluru FC visit Maldives to face the country’s best side Maziya Sports and Recreation Club in a crucial away encounter in the AFC Cup. A point for the away side will guarantee them a place in the round of 16.

The previous encounter between the two sides was an exciting one as a last minute winner from Shankar Sampingiraj decided the fate of the game. Ashley Westwood’s men will go all guns blazing to win this tie and boost their confidence. It is expected to be an exciting clash between the two champion sides.

Venue

National Football Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Male, Maldives. It is used mostly for football matches of the Dhivehi League, FAM Cup, and International matches. The stadium holds around 13,000 spectators. The stadium was renovated to upgrade certain facilities including a media box for 2014 AFC Challenge Cup and was re-branded as National Football Stadium.

Kick-off: April 28, 2015: 4:30 pm (IST)

Possible starting line-ups

Bengaluru FC (4-5-1-): Ralte; Rinto, Johnson, Osano, Sampingiraj; Josh Walker, Eugenson Lyngdoh, Thoi Singh, Sunil Chhetri, CK Vineeth; Robin Singh

Ashley Westwood has a fit team at his disposal for the AFC Cup tie and he would possible field the best possible side to win this encounter and qualify for the next stage. Sunil Chhetri and Robin who were left out against Bharat FC last week in the I-League are likely to make a comeback in the starting lineup. Also, all the four foreigners may start in this game.

Maziya Sports and Recreation Club (4-3-2-1): Imran; Farhaad, Amdhaan, Zhivko, Samdhooh; Niyaz, Toshi, Irufan; Asadhulla, Umair; Pablo.

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Maziya vs Bengaluru FC – Likely formations

Key Battles

Pablo Rodriguez vs John Johnson

Maziya Sports and Recreation Club’s main striker Pablo Rodriguez will be one of the main threats to the Bengaluru FC defense. The Spaniard who has played youth football at Spain’s top tier clubs like Levante and Valencia has a very good goal scoring ratio this season for the Maldivian club. John Johnson will have to keep him under strict vigilance to avoid any danger.

Pablo Rodriguez will be crucial for Maziya

Sunil Chhetri vs Zhivko Dinev

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Sunil Chhetri will be the main threat up front for the Indian unit. He is the key player in this side and holds the potential to change the fate of the match single-handedly.

Maziya’s Bulgarian defender Zhivko Dinev will be in charge of stopping the India international from posing any threat on the home team’s defense. Dinev is a strong defender and the tussle between the two will be worth watching.

Prediction

Maziya Sports and Recreation Club 0-1 Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC emerged victorious in the previous encounter between the two sides in February at the Kanteerava stadium. On paper the Indian champions have a better side and are expected to win this tie. A draw also will guide them through to the next round. Thus, Ashley Westwood’s men will look to go for the win and should win this game by a goal to nil.

Published 28 Apr 2015, 12:51 IST
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