AFC Cup 2018 Preview: Bengaluru FC vs Abahani Limited - Hosts confident of extending unbeaten run
The Blues face the Bangladeshi champions in the AFC Cup two days before the ISL final...

Bengaluru FC will look to extend their five-game unbeaten run in the AFC Cup intact when they take on Group E rivals Abahani Limited at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru, on Wednesday night.

The JSW-owned outfit's last loss in the competition was against FC Istiklol on 27 September 2017 in the West Asia Zonal semifinals and the team is on a massive 14-game unbeaten run in all competitions this season.

Beginning their preliminary round with a goalless draw against Transport United in Bhutan before overcoming them 3-0 in the home leg, Bengaluru completed a double over Maldives' TC Sports by an aggregate scoreline of 8-2 to make it into the group stage.

Boithang Haokip Bengaluru FC Transport United AFC Cup Preliminary Round 2018

The home side will be hosts to the Indian Super League (ISL) final against Chennaiyin FC at the same venue on Saturday.

With the final in mind, Albert Roca might opt to rotate his squad and as far as injuries are concerned, only Harmanjot Khabra and Nishu Kumar are ruled out due to injuries.

"The players who haven't got too many chances in the ISL have done really well in the AFC Cup and I am confident they will keep our unbeaten run going," Roca said on the eve of the game.

Being in the AFC Cup group stage for the fourth consecutive season, a feat previously achieved only by East Bengal (2010-2013) among the Indian clubs, the former Barcelona assistant stated, "It's an honour to play in the AFC Cup for yet another season and our performances over the last two editions of the competition show how much we have grown in strength at the continental level."

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Abahani Bengaluru FC AFC Cup Group Stage 2017

Meanwhile, Abahani Limited made it to the AFC Cup on account of clinching the 2017 Bangladesh Premier League. This is their second appearance as the 2016 Federation Cup champions crashed out of the group stage where they had faced Bengaluru twice - winning 2-0 at home and losing away with the same scoreline.

After their solitary goal defeat at the hands of fellow groupmates New Radiant SC last week, Abahani have to make do without Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba Nwadialu who picked up two yellow cards. Fellow Nigerian Emeka Onuoha and Japanese medio Seija Kojima are hence expected to lead the line of attack.

Kick-off is at 20:00 IST.

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Bengaluru
Abahani Abahani
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