Bengaluru FC vs Istiklol
Date: 18th October 2017
Time: 7 pm IST
Venue: Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru
Live Streaming: AFC Cup official Facebook page
The Blues will take on FC Istiklol on Wednesday in the second leg of the AFC Cup Inter-Zonal finals. Bengaluru FC will take on the Tajikistan champions at the Kanteerava tomorrow with the winners waiting to book a place in the AFC Cup Final.
The defending champions, Iraq's Air Force Club have reached the final again this year and will be eagerly waiting to see their opponents in the final. We will have to wait to see if last years finalists BFC will set up a grudge match or FC Istiklol have a chance to win the continent's secondary club competition.
FC Istiklol have an upper hand in the tie with the Tajik champions having won 1-0 in the first leg which was played at their home. The Tajik club will be hoping to finish their job in the second leg, but facing the Blues at the Kanteerava won't be easy for the 2015 runners-up. The vehement Bengaluru FC fans are only one of the test the Tajik club have to face. The rain which has been pouring down in the city for last two days and the wet conditions might affect the Tajik club just like it affected the North Korean club April 25 SC who were defeated 3-0 at the Kanteerava in August.
FC Istiklol are in superb form after winning the domestic title last month and will be a difficult opponent to face for the Bengaluru team, but Albert Roca just needs a little bit of inspiration to lead his team to the finals just like he did it against the Malaysian club Johor Darul Takzim in 2016 semi-finals. Bengaluru FC will depend on the inspiration from captain Sunil Chhetri as they've always had.
Chhetri has always lead the team from the front when they needed him most and once again the fans will hope that their captain will inspire the team to the finals. FC Istikol will depend on their star striker Manuchekhr Dzhalilov and his goal-scoring skills; the striker has scored seven goals till now in the tournament.
Bengaluru FC just had one shot in the first leg of the tie even after dominating the game with 63.2% possession in the game, while FC Istiklol scored their solo goal from 23 shots in the game. In the first leg, Roca fielded a five-man defence but in the home leg, the crucial match, Roca is expected to turn back to his 4-3-3 formation as it is a do or die match for the Blues.
With FC Istiklol scoring 20 goals in the tournament and just conceding four, it will be a tough time for the Blues to get into consecutive finals. With the home record, Bengaluru have, let's hope for a mouthwatering contest at the Kanteerava.
Get the live-action at 7:00 PM today on the official AFC Cup Facebook page. You can also follow Sportskeeda's live commentary.