The Sunil Chhetri-led Bengaluru FC will take on Maldives’ Club Eagles in the AFC Cup play-off tie in Male, Maldives, on May 11.
Bengaluru FC had crushed Nepalese side Tribhuvan Army FC 5-0 in their 2021 AFC Cup Preliminary Round 2 clash and were scheduled to take on the winner of the match between Club Eagles and Abahani Limited Dhaka.
But on Friday, the Bangladesh club withdrew from the AFC Cup Qualifiers due to the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in the country, thus giving Club Eagles an easy path into the play-off tie.
Bengaluru FC tweeted on Friday: “Following Abahani Limited Dhaka’s withdrawal from the 2021 AFC Cup Qualifiers, the Blues (Bengaluru FC) are set to face Club Eagles in their Playoff Stage encounter. The fixture is, however, set to take place in Male, Maldives, on May 11, 2021.”
Bengaluru FC had scored five goals against Tribhuvan Army FC in a held in Goa on April 16, with Brazilian Cleiton Silva and Rahul Bheke scoring a brace each. Skipper Chhetri also got his name on the score-sheet after returning from a bout of Covid-19.
The Indian Super League (ISL) team’s 52-year-old German coach Marco Pezzaiuoli has said that while the AFC Cup play-off is an ongoing campaign, he was looking ahead to the new ISL season.
“Our training sessions have never been based on the opponents,” he said.
“We prepare for what we want to develop. Of course, the focus is on the next two weeks (but) I want to see a better team for the new season. Now for me, it’s like a pre-season, and I will take every minute with the team,” the German tactician said.