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PREVIEW: Maziya Vs Bengaluru FC

WHEN IS THE MATCH?

Maziya SRs AFC Cup 2017, group stage second match is against Bengaluru FC of India. The match is scheduled to kickoff at 1600hrs, on Tuesday, 4th April 2017.

HOW ARE THEY QUALIFIED?

Maziya SR qualified for the AFC Cup as the Champions of Dhivehi Premier League 2016. This is the fifth appearance of Maziya in the AFC Cup and is yet to go beyond group stage.

Bengaluru FC qualified as the Champions of I League 2015-16. This is the third appearance of Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup. Bengaluru FC is the runners-up of AFC Cup in last edition, losing in the final match against Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya of Iraq by one goal to nil. They qualified for the round of 16 in their first appearance in AFC Cup.

HEAD TO HEAD

Maziya SR and Bengaluru FC have met twice earlier. Both meetings were in the group stage of AFC Cup 2015. Bengaluru won both home and away games by an identical 2-1 margin. Mohamed Umair who still plays for Maziya is the only local player who has scored against Bengaluru FC. Umair scored from the spot in the away match against Bengaluru back in 2015.

AFC Cup 2017

Maziya SR and Begaluru FC both won their opening games of AFC Cup 2017 against Dhaka Abahani and Mohun Bagan respectively. Maziya SR is ahead of Bengaluru FC  in the point table of Group E with goal difference after the opening day matches. Winner of this match will top the group and if the match ends all squared, Maziya will remain in the top.

CURRENT DOMESTIC FORM

Maziya has played three games in the local season so far and has won all three without conceding a single goal.

1-0 vs Club Valencia (Charity Shield)

1-0 vs Club Eagles (Male’ League)

3-0 vs Green Streets (Male’ League)

Bengaluuru FC is placed 5th in the I-League with 18 points from 14 games. Their last three domestic games results are as bellow.

0-3 vs Mohun Bagan

0-0 vs Mohun Bagan

1-1 vs Chennai City

FOREIGN PLAYERS AND COACHING STAFF

Maziya will be guided by their first ever foreign coach Marjan Sekulovski from Mecedonia. He has a good track record in the AFC Cup. In 2014, Football Federation of Macedonia has also awarded Marjan Sekulovski the best Macedonian Coach abroad.

So far he has proved his quality in Maldives too. He has won all four games (including one AFC Cup match) without conceding a single goal.

Maziya has signed four foreign players for the football season 2017. Aleksandar Rakic from Serbia will be leading the strike force while his countrymen Miloš Kovačević along with Andrei Cordoș from Romania will play key role in their defense. Maziya’s fourth foreign player is their goalkeeper Pavel Matiash, who is also the custodian of Kyrgyzstan national team since 2009.

On the other hand, Bengaluru FC will be coached by former Barcelona and Galatasaray Assistant Coach Albert Roca Pujol.

Foreign players in Bengaluru FC are Juan Antonio González Fernández of Spain, John Johnson from England,  Cameron Watson from Australia and Marjan Jugović from Serbia.

 

OTHER TEAM NEWS

Captain of Maziya SR, Asadulla Abdulla has made his name on the score sheet in all club games this season. He has scored five goals in four games including the AFC Cup match against Dhaka Abahani.

Meanwhile, Bengaluru captain Sunil Chhetri is the winner of the Goal of the Week presented by Allianz for the 2017 AFC Cup tournament for the week beginning March 13, after a public vote amongst the fans on the AFC’s social media networks.  Last week he also scored an important away goal for his country against Myanmar in the Asian Cup Qualifiers.

OTHER MATCHES IN THE GROUP

In AFC Cup Group E, Mohun Bagan will host Dhaka Abahani on the same day. Both teams has lost their opening games in the AFC Cup 2017.

NEW FORMAT OF AFC CUP

As AFC has decided to apply the new format of the prestigious cup from this year onwards, 36 clubs have been divided into nine groups, of four teams each.

The teams have been divided into five zones: West, Central, South, East and ASEAN.

Among the nine groups, six are from West and ASEAN zone combined and the other three zones have one group each.

Only the winner of the group will advance to the next round.

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