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Bengaluru to tread with caution against Tribhuvan in AFC Cup face-off


Kuala Lumpur: Bengaluru FC will not make the mistake of underestimating Tribhuvan Army FC of Nepal when the two teams meet in Preliminary Round 2 of the 2021 AFC Cup at the GMC Stadium in Goa on Wednesday.

In a winner-takes-all tie, the victors will advance to the playoff stage of the 2021 AFC Cup, with either Bangladesh's Abahani Limited Dhaka or Club Eagles of Maldives their next opponents.

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Bengaluru will - given their AFC Cup history - start as favourites but Tribhuvan can't be taken lightly, especially after their impressive 4-1 win over Sri Lanka Police in the Preliminary Round 1 last week.

Head coach Nabin Neupane's side showed great resilience to fight back after going a goal down and won't be lacking in confidence against a Bengaluru side who are coming off a difficult Indian Super League season.

The former champions finished seventh in the ISL and qualifying for the AFC Cup group stage will go a long way in making up for their disappointing domestic season.

Good news for newly appointed Bengaluru head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli is the availability of the talismanic Sunil Chettri, who has recovered from COVID-19.

The Indian captain is looking forward to the tie and is expecting a reaction from Bengaluru in their attempt to make up for their ISL struggles.

"I really expect a reaction and it starts from individuals. We were horrible last year, to say the least, and that gives an added motivation to everyone to perform," said Chettri to local media.

Having said that, Chettri cautioned against underestimating Tribhuvan.

"We saw Tribhuvan beat the Sri Lankan team. They play quite well. You can see the unity and the way they have trained. They must have stayed together for a time. It's not going to be easy."


Bengaluru FC v Tribhuvan Army FC
Venue: GMC Stadium (Goa)
Kickoff: April 14, 19:30 (UTC+5:30)

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