Bengaluru delivered the worst performance by an Indian club in AFC Cup after losing to Maziya on penalties in the qualification playoffs of the 2020 edition of the tournament on Wednesday.
In the two-legged fixture, the Blues lost 1-2 away from home before registering a 3-2 scoreline at the end of extra-time in the second leg at the Kanteerava Stadium. With the teams tied on aggregate (4-4), the teams went into a penalty shoot-out to determine the winner. Rahul Bheke and Parag Srivas missed their penalties and the Blues went down 3-4 in the shootout to crash out of the competition.
Bengaluru have previously qualified for the AFC Cup on four occasions back-to-back. In 2015, they reached the Round-of-16 and it was followed by a defeat to Al Quwa Al Jawiya in the final. The next two campaigns saw exits in the inter-zone final and inter-zone semi-final. After failing to qualify last year, the Blues made a return to Asian by winning the Indian Super League last season but the comeback did not go according to plan.
Never before has an Indian club failed to make it to the group stage of the AFC Cup. In addition to Bengaluru's final appearance, notable feats include semi-final appearances of that of Dempo and East Bengal in 2008 and 2013 respectively.
For Maziya, it is a historic result as for the first time ever, there will be two Maldivian clubs in the group stage. TC Sports and Maziya will play in Group E alongside Chennai City and Bashudhara Kings.