Bengaluru FC head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli has said that he expects an aggressive game against ATK Mohun Bagan in their Group D encounter at the 2021 AFC Cup on Wednesday, August 18.
Bengaluru, who defeated Club Eagles 1-0 in the playoff on Sunday, are grouped alongside ATK Mohun Bagan, Bashundhara Kings and Maziya S&RC, with only one team set to qualify for the Inter-zone playoff semifinals.
“Our last game was only two days ago, so it was a short recovery for the team. It's not really an advantage, but I can see the glass either as half empty or half full, and I choose to see it half full," Pezzaiuoli said.
"We are happy to be in the group stage of this competition. This is a new game, a new start and we have a renewed focus. We need to be very sharp against ATK Mohun Bagan, because I am expecting an aggressive game,” said the Blues coach at the pre-match press conference.
ATK Mohun Bagan qualified for the AFC Cup's group stages by virtue of Mohun Bagan’s victorious 2019-20 I-League campaign. The Kolkata-based side have had a busy transfer window, having recruited the likes of Hugo Boumous, Amrinder Singh, Liston Colaco, Ashutosh Mehta, Bidyananda Singh and Deepak Tangri.
Marco Pezzaiuoli believes Bengaluru will have their task cut out on Wednesday. “ATK Mohun Bagan like to play a lot of long passes, go for the second ball and press high up on the pitch, which calls for a different approach from us," the Bengaluru FC head coach said.
"(But) They have also changed things in the summer, by bringing in a French foreigner (Hugo Boumous), among other players. This shows that they want to win the Indian Super League and the AFC Cup. We have to be in good spirit, show good focus and I am certain that we have a chance of winning tomorrow,” Pezzaiuoli added.
Jayesh Rane scored the only goal of the game against Club Eagles, and with only three games to play in the group stages, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu said the task at hand was one that required focus and commitment from all corners.
“It’s true that things are different this time because there are fewer games to play in the group. But it is still difficult, and we have to be focused," the Indian national team goalkeeper said.
"It was important for us to get into the group stage because we want to do well in Asia, as a club. Now it’s up to us to make sure we put on a good performance and try to do our best in each game,” Gurpreet added.
The ATK Mohun Bagan vs Bengaluru FC encounter in the 2021 AFC Cup is scheduled for 4.30 PM IST (4 PM local time) on Wednesday, August 18, and will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network.
Featured photo: Bengaluru FC media