Bengaluru FC to face Johor Darul in AFC Champions League qualifiers

Asian Champions League qualifiers
Bengaluru FC to face Malaysian Super League champions
in Asian Champions League qualifiers

I-League champions Bengaluru FC will be up against Malaysia Super League winners Johor Darul Ta’zim FC in the AFC Champions League, the draws of which took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday. The game will take place at the Larkin Stadium, the home of Johor FC on February 4, 2015.

Ashley Westwood’s team will have to play and win two preliminary games and one play-off game before making it to the group stages of the Champions League. Should Bengaluru taste triumph in the opener, they will then travel to Thailand where they play Bangkok Glass in Round Two (February 10) of the preliminary stage.

A win there would see the Blues needing to clear one last hurdle in Chinese Super League runners-up, Beijing Guoan, in what will be the play-off tie on February 17 at the Workers Stadium, in Beijing, China, before making it to the group stages.

Westwood said the game would be a great test to see how his boys perform on the Asian stage. “Today was the day of the long-anticipated AFC Champions League and Cup draw and we are pitted against Johor FC from Malaysia which will provide us with a tough test to see if we progress to the next preliminary round. There is no need to look any further at this stage as we have to take each game as it comes,” he said.

A blip in the Champions League would not mean the end of the road in Asia for Bengaluru FC who will play in the group stage of the AFC Cup where they have been drawn in Group E with Persipura Jayapura (Indonesia), Warriors FC or Tampines Rover (Singapore) and the winners of the sole play-off between – Maziya Sports & Recreation (Maldives) and Ceres La Salle FC (Philippines).

Westwood added that though the League and Cup would be a challenge, it is a dream that the club has realized in only one year of its existence. “We are delighted at this stage with a chance to compete against the best in Asia which is where we wanted to be when this club was formed 18 months ago even though it has come sooner than we could dream of because of our success last year.”

The other Indian club in the AFC Cup is East Bengal who have been placed in Group F alongside Kitchee SC (Hong Kong), Johor Darul Ta’zim FC or Selangor (Malaysia) and Balestier Khalsa FC (Singapore).

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About Debraj Banerjee

Hi, I am Debraj Banerjee from Adra, West Bengal. A keen follower of Indian football and always an optimist that the game will get the recognition it truely deserves. What we ask from you is your support and one day the dream might turn true. Fingers crossed for Indian football. Cheers!

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