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Bengaluru FC take on Abahani Dhaka in AFC Cup opener

IANS  |  Bengaluru 

will aim to get their 2018 group stage campaign off to a winning start when they host Bangladesh's Abahani in a Group E encounter at the here on Wednesday.

Having made it through to the zonal phase after winning the preliminary and play-off stages, the Blues are in the Group Stage for a record fourth season running and have matched East Bengal's (2010-13) run of most consecutive appearances for an Indian club in the competition.

"It's an honour to play in the for yet another season and our performances over the last two editions of the competition show how much we have grown in strength at the continental level. We have had to play four extra games to get here and now that the group stages begin, we need to make our efforts and consistency count," said

With the grand final of the (ISL) set to take place on Saturday, Roca is expected to field a similar starting XI from the qualifiers where youngsters got a look in.

"We have a situation where we play in a final two days after our game. It isn't the most ideal scenario but it's one we are going to have to deal with. The players who haven't got too many chances in the ISL have done really well in the AFC Cup and I am confident they will keep our unbeaten run going," said Roca whose team hasn't lost a game since the 0-2 defeat to away from home in January.

Abahani, who qualified for this season's AFC Cup by winning the 2017-18 Premier League, began their Group Stage campaign with a narrow 0-1 home loss to New Radiant SC a week back.

The sky blue brigade will be missing the services of Nigerian striker Sunday who was sent off in the opener. In their top-scorer's absence, the visitors' frontline will be led by fellow Nigerian Emeka Onuoha along with Japanese medio Seija Kojima.

Roca's men have faced the Bangladeshi champions twice in the previous edition of the AFC Cup.

While the Blues won the home leg 2-0 with goals from and Marjan Jugovic, they suffered a reverse in the away leg. In team news, and are still recovering from and will not play any part in the fixture.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 13 2018. 20:24 IST
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