It has been 32 days since the ISL concluded and now we are back in action with the AFC Cup 2021 Qualifiers as Bengaluru FC takes on Tribhuwan Army FC on 14th April at the GMC Stadium, Goa. The two sides will meet for the first time.
Bengaluru FC are all but set to make their 5th appearance in the AFC Cup courtesy of finishing 3rd in the points table in the 2019-20 Hero ISL season. Marco Pezzaiuoli’s men will be eager to replicate their 2016 AFC Cup performance when they had reached the AFC Cup finals under then head coach Albert Roca. Bengaluru had a comparatively poor ISL season this time around, which led them to sack Carles Cuadrat mid-season and hand over the reins to Marco Pezzaiuoli. The German left his job as technical director of Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt to join the Blues ahead of their AFC Cup Qualifiers.
Nepal Army Club, also known as Tribhuwan Army FC are ready to make their debut in Asia. Tribhuwan FC, who finished second in the Martyrs Memorial A-League, replaced Macchindra Club, champions of 2019-20 Martyr’s Memorial A-Division League, who failed to meet the AFC requirements. Thus they become the second Nepali club after Three Star Club to play in an AFC competition. Under head coach Nabin Neupane, the all local squad of TAFC will be looking to leave a mark when they take on Bengaluru FC in Bambolim.
While Bengaluru FC is going to play after a one-month break under a new manager, TAFC started their AFC Cup Qualifying campaign on 7th April 2021 when they defeated Sri Lanka Police SC by a margin of 5-1.
There will be at least three Bengaluru FC players out of action as the club announced three COVID cases among its players on Wednesday. Newly-appointed head coach Pezzaiuoli revealed a 29-member-squad for their qualifying campaign recently. The squad has a good mix of experienced and youth players, with five youngsters from the reserve squad making the team. The four foreign players for Bengaluru are Spanish defender Juanan Gonzalez, Cleiton Silva, Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu, and new recruit Yrondu Musavu-King.
Meanwhile, Tribhuwan Army FC has named an all Nepali squad for their AFC campaign. The names in the team are headlined by Nawayug Shrestha, the 30-year-old center forward who hit the back of the net twice against Sri Lanka Police SC, and Bharat Khawas who was named as 2019-20 Martyr’s Memorial A-Division League’s best forward.
Bengaluru FC – Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Harmanjot Khabra, Yrondu Musavu-King, Juan Gonzalez, Ajith Kumar, Suresh Wangjam, Erik Paartalu, Ashique Kuruniyan, Udanta Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Cleiton Silva
Tribhuwan Army FC – B Tamang, B Khawas, B Basnet, B Chaudhary, Bikash Khawas, N Shrestha, S Tamang, T Basnet, G Shrestha, S Angdembe, D Gurung
Bengaluru FC holds the upper hand when they take on Tribhuwan Army FC at Bambolim. The Nepali team, without any foreign players, will find it difficult against the Blues, which boasts a strong set of foreign players alongside experienced Indian internationals. TAFC will rely on Nawayug Shrestha and Bharat Khawas against a strong Bengaluru defense, which has been boosted by the addition of Gabon international Yrondu Musavu-King. Bengaluru meanwhile, will once again be relying on captain Sunil Chhetri for goals who will be supported by Brazilian forward Cleiton Silva.
Bengaluru FC 2-0 Tribhuwan Army FC
Match Date -14th April 2021(Wednesday)
Time – 7:30 pm IST
Venue – GMC Stadium- Bambolim, Goa
How to watch-: BFC TV YouTube Channel