The match starts at 9:30 pm Saturday night.

The Doha Dream Can Bengaluru FC pull off the ultimate Indian football fairytale
news Sports Friday, November 04, 2016 - 20:31

After a superb win against the reigning champions Johor Darul Ta'zim, Bengaluru FC faces Iraqi club Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in the grand finale of the AFC Cup on Saturday.

Not to dismiss the incredible run of the Bengaluru club till now, a win at the Suheim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on Saturday would be a pinnacle moment for Indian football.
Other than the title honours, a $1 million prize money awaits the two-time I-league champions which was set up only three years ago.

Bengaluru FC with its win over Johor at the Kanteerava stadium, Bengaluru on October 19 became the first ever Indian football club to reach the finals of the AFC Cup, the second-tier continental tournament.

Just like the semi-final clash against Johor, Saturday’s final is also going to be another uphill task for the Sunil Chhetri-led side given the Air Force Club (as Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya is known) was supposed to play the first-tier AFC Champions League except for a licensing issue.

Cashing in on the red-hot form of the skipper Chhetri, Albert Roca’s men will look to upset the Iraqi FA Cup champions. The Air Force Club has failed to score only once in its last 16 matches played. And since Basim Qasim, incidentally their third coach this season took over the reins, the club has not yet registered a defeat.

Bengaluru can take heart from the fact that they have already beaten the champions of Singapore and Malaysia on their way to the finals. 

 The player to watch out for the Blues other than the skipper will be Meghalayan Eugeneson Lyngdoh who has played a part in many of the goals throughout the tournament. 

 Apart from the fluid attacking setup, the new found solidity in the central midfield crafted by Roca will be the key for the Indian team.

 The availability of 20-year-old Udanta Singh, who played at the venue two years back for a U-19 clash in India colours, will come as a boost for the underdogs. However, Bengaluru’s first choice goalkeeper Amrinder Singh will miss out due to suspension.

The task for the Blues lies in breaking the pace of the Falcons and in dealing with the strength of their aerial play.

One of the players to look out for in the Iraqi team will be Rasan (19), who recently made his debut for the Iraqi national team and is on a purple patch, netting three goals in the continental meet this year.

But their chief scorer remains Hammadi Ahmed with 15 goals in 10 games in the tournament. He is incidentally the all-time third highest goal scorer in the competition. Not to be ignored is Ahmed’s partner in crime, 26-year-old Amjad Radhi who has won the Iraqi Premier League Golden Boot two times already.

With the voice of the West Block Blues missing, a strong presence of Indian expats in Qatar will ensure there is no shortage of support for the Indian team even as fans back home will be glued to their television sets.    


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