Bagan, Bengaluru in crunch tie


Bagan are already out of the AFC Cup while Bengaluru and Maziya Sports and Recreation Club are on nine points but BFC are on top of table owing to their better head-to-head record against the team from Maldives. 

However the crazy scheduling of Federation Cup meant that the final is being played a week after the semifinals with the second tier continental championship sandwiched in between.

This will be the fifth meeting between BFC and Bagan this season, the first of which took place in Bengaluru on March 11. They have met in two I-League games, one Federation Cup group game and one leg of the AFC Cup — with the results being two draws and one win apiece.

They will meet again for the sixth time on May 21 in Cuttack in the Federation Cup final that will also give the winners an AFC Cup slot for the 2018 season.

Bagan manager Sanjoy Sen could rest some of his key players in lieu of the forthcoming match but Bengaluru coach Albert Roca is taking nothing for granted.

“No matter what squad Mohun Bagan or we decide to go with, I have no illusions of this game being one where we can afford to take our foot off the pedal. The conditions will be tougher for us and I’m confident that the boys will make the most of the experience,” said Roca.
“Bagan have always been tough competitors and both the clubs are always fighting for titles. The younger players on the team have a point to prove to me and I’m looking forward to a good show,” he added.

On nine points from four matches to lead the table, Bengaluru will look to log full points to secure their passage to the knock-out stage.
The third-placed Bagan who have three points from four matches will look to finish on a high at their home venue where they have been unbeaten this season.

Both Bagan and Bengaluru lost their respective last assignment in the AFC Cup. Bagan lost 2-5 to Maziya at the National Stadium in Male on May 3. Bengaluru went down 0-2 to Abahani Limited Dhaka at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka on the same day.

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