With a spot in the AFC Cup's Group E at stake, current Indian Super League leaders, Bengaluru FC travel to the Maldives, hoping to get the better of Trust and Care(TC) Sports Club.
Both the clubs overcame their last hurdle in the competition in fine fashion, last month. Bengaluru registered a 3-0 aggregate win over Bhutan's Transport United, while TC Sports club convincingly beat Bangladesh's Saif Sporting, winning 4-1 on aggregate.
TC Sports club, appearing in their first-ever continental competition, secured a place in the competition after finishing runners-up in the 2017 Dhivehi Premier League. Bengaluru FC may have the upper hand in terms of experience, but the Maldives outfit are no slouches either, evident by their performance in the previous round.
Bengaluru are in the middle of a whirlwind of an Indian Super League campaign. So, coach Albert Roca will need to get his rotation game on point. Ahead of the ISL encounter against FC Pune on Friday, Bengaluru will bank on their young guns, once again, to bail them out.
All of the three goalscorers from the last cup fixture - Boithang Haokip, Daniel Lalhlimpuia and Thongkhosiem Haokip - are set to start, with Antoni Dovale ready to be the only foreigner in the lineup.
For TC Sports, all eyes will be on Kyrgyz playmaker Anatoliy Vlasichev, who netted a brilliant hat-trick against their Bangladeshi opponents in the previous round.
The Maldives are in a state of emergency over the last 15 days, so, the hosts will head into the match without any competitive match fitness under their belt. The humid weather and passionate support can aid their cause, but it looks to be a favourable encounter for the visitors.
We predict a 2-0 win for Bengaluru FC.
Kick Off: 9:30 PM IST