Federation cup: Aizawl FC take on Bengaluru FC in opener
Newly crowned I-League champions Bengaluru FC will lock horns with Aizawl FC in the first match of the Hero Federation Cup 2016 at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium.
The top eight teams of I-league will be contending in the Federation Cup which will see a total of 13 games. All the matches, except the final are to be played on a two legged (home and away) knockout basis. While the final will be played on a neutral ground.
Bengaluru FC are the current holders of the Federation Cup having beaten Dempo 2-1 in the 2015 final which was played at Margao, Goa.
Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood said, "We have been fairly consistent this season and we hope to carry it into the Hero Federation Cup. We could not train as much as we would like to today after our long journey yesterday but we will play to win tomorrow."
Commenting on Aizawl FC, Westwood stated, "Aizawl are a good team, it was sad to see them go out. They were a fresh team that showed excitement and did not deserve to be relegated."
Seminlen Doungel, the Manipuri striker, emphasized on the desire of his team to win and said, "I am very excited about our match with Aizawl tomorrow, we will try our best to win." He also admitted that knockout matches could be more difficult than league games.
Aizawl FC coach Jahar Das stated that his side could create an upset tomorrow.
"We were not the last team in the Hero I-League, and we were able to beat Mohun Bagan who were at the top, we can win tomorrow. We have an advantage over them as they are a little tired, it will be difficult for them to hold us tomorrow."
"It was a difficult time for us when we heard that we have relegated. But now, we have to opportunity to play against the champions. They are the best team as of now and have been playing other tournaments like the AFC so that might work to our advantage," informed Aizwal FC's midfielder Albert Zohmingmawia.
In their two I-League matches against each other, Aizawl FC suffered two defeats conceding one goal in each match without scoring against Bengaluru FC.
(Inputs from agencies)
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