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Bengaluru FC face stiff challenge in AFC Cup


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Singapore, April 13: Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood expects a tough game against local challengers Warriors FC, who are still to win a game, as the two clash in an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup encounter at the Jalan Besar Stadium here on Tuesday.

Bengaluru, with six points, are second on the table and a win against Alex Weaver's team would take the I-League champions a step close to getting out of a group that has Indonesian side Persipura Jayapura as leaders.

"We're looking forward to what will be our fourth game in the AFC Cup. With two wins in three games, we are in a decent position on the group and coming here to get a win will only strengthen that," said Westwood on the eve of the game.

A Joshua Walker penalty gave Bengaluru a 1-0 win at home last month in a commendable performance considering that Westwood was without as many as four first team players who were away on national duty.

"The difference from last time is that we have our internationals back and we will be better equipped with regards to squad depth," he said.

But Westwood reckons Tuesday night won't be easy as it will be the first of three games that Warriors will need to win should they give themselves any chance of making it out of the group stages.

"The game in Bengaluru was tight, but was one we deserved to win. While we scored from a penalty that night, we will try to score from open play tomorrow but it won't be easy," he said.

"They have lost three games in this group and I'm uncertain of how they will choose to approach this game. If they have to qualify, they need to win all three games so we need to see what kind of team they put out," he added.

Bengaluru have been unbeaten in their last five games of the I-League and Westwood hopes to keep the run going.

Warriors too have had a good run in the Singapre League where four wins in five games have kept them second on the table.

"We haven't lost in five games in the League and have a decent run going our way and we hope to continue that against Warriors. They have played us and know we are decent enough a side to make a tough game out if it," said Westwood.

Warriors will be without Argentinian midfielder Nicolas Velez who misses the game with a suspension. Bengaluru, meanwhile, have a fully fit squad.

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