Bengaluru FC brace up for Johor Darul Ta’zim tie in AFC Cup (Preview)

Johor Bahru (Malaysia), May 10 (IANS) Bengaluru FC will aim to put behind their Federation Cup disappointment with a much improved performance against Johor Darul Ta’zim in the group H tie of the AFC Cup football tournament here on Wednesday.

Bengaluru suffered a disappointing exit in the Federation Cup after being crowned I-League champions for the second time in three seasons. They lost to Shillong Lajong over the two legs in the quarter-final.

However, midfielder Michael Collins said the team has put the failure behind them and believes a good show against JDT will instil confidence in the dressing room.

“Questions are being asked about the kind of side we will roll out given we have already qualified. But whatever side we put out, we’ve come here to try and get a result,” Collins said.

“We are probably up against the strongest team in the competition who might fancy themselves to win, so for us to come here and get a good result will hold us in good stead before our Round-of-16 game.

“Back home we won the League but didn’t advance the Fed Cup and there are a lot of players hurting in the team which is why we are keen to put it right and end the season on a high.”

Irrespective of the result on Wednesday, the visitors will finish second behind Johor as both teams have made the knock-out stages.

And Bengaluru assistant coach Matthew Holland, who will be at the touchline following head coach Ashley Westwood’s suspension in the game against Lao Toyota, said the I-League champions would be looking to give a good account of themselves against what is more than just a very good team.

“What’s always important to us is the performance on the day and what’s more important is the fact that we’ve qualified already. But we will definitely look to come and give a very good account of ourselves,” Holland said.

“We have to be appreciative of the fact that JDT are not just a very, very good team in Malaysia, they are the best. They are backed well and have a lot of support. Hopefully we can do well and get what we deserve on the day,” he added.

JDT have had a flawless Cup campaign winning all of their group games, conceding just three goals and are considered a very formidable side at home.

But Holland said Bengaluru are aware of what they are up against at the Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium.

“The staff put in a lot when it comes to analysis of opponents. JDT are formidable at home just like a lot of sides are formidable at home and in football you can get a good result.

“What I can assure you is that we have done our homework as a group of staff, the players are aware of what they need to do and we’ll do our best,” he said.

–IANS

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