Indian Super League champions Bengaluru FC are set to face Maldivian side Maziya S&RC in a playoff round first leg clash of the 2020 AFC Cup, at the Maldives National Football Stadium, in Male, on Wednesday. Despite having qualified with a massive 10-1 aggregate win over Bhutan’s Paro FC, Blues’ boss Carles Cuadrat said his side will have to work hard to claim a result in humid conditions.
“I remember winning against Maziya S&RC with a late goal and when New Radiant got the better of us in 2017. We are in a good place with the big win in this competition against Paro FC, but this is a completely different situation and previous results don’t matter,” Cuadrat said.
The Blues’ first-ever win in continental competition came against Maziya S&RC, and despite having the upper hand in clashes between the sides, Cuadrat maintains that past form counts for little.
“It’s true that we have had a decent run against teams from Maldives. But if you notice how we won some of the games, it was tough. Nishu scored in injury time at Kanteerava once, Johnson scored late on in the Maldives. It’s difficult to say that we are favourites,” he added.
The Blues will be without skipper Sunil Chhetri, who continues his return from a muscle injury while midfielder Suresh Wangjam serves a one-game suspension, having picked up yellow cards in both clashes against Paro FC.
The Marjan Sekulovski-coached Maziya side qualified to the playoff rounds with victory on away goals over Bangladeshi Premier League side Abahani Dhaka, having returned with a 2-2 result from the Bangabandhu National Stadium in the first leg.