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Cauvery issue forces BFC to start Asian journey behind closed doors

The fate of the AFC Cup quarterfinal first leg between Bengaluru FC and Singapore’s Tampines Rovers FC was left hanging in the balance after 24 hours of chaotic situation in Bengaluru over the Cauvery issue.

Published: 14th September 2016 03:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th September 2016 07:59 AM   |  A+A-

Cauvery issue

BENGALURU : The fate of the AFC Cup quarterfinal first leg between Bengaluru FC and Singapore’s Tampines Rovers FC was left hanging in the balance after 24 hours of chaotic situation in Bengaluru over the Cauvery issue.

After hours of confusion over match timing, the match commissioner and organisers have now decided to go on with the match with BFC having to play without their coveted home support as it will be held behind closed doors at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

The match will be held at a new timing of 4pm owing to security concerns. But the confusion did not end there. Club officials made it clear initially that no media would be allowed for the match but later limited media slots were made available.

In the midst of a tense situation in the city, the visiting team were forced to train at their hotel’s car park as training sessions at the match venue had to be abandoned. The hosts have not had satisfactory match practice in the last four months. Out of four practice matches, the new-look BFC have lost two — to Ozone FC and DSK Shivajians.

The results were not unexpected as the I-League champions are still in a transitional phase under former Barcelona assistant coach Albert Roca.

Three years of success under Ashley Westwood is now past. They have reinforced the team with Spaniard Juan Gonzalez and Australian striker Cameron Watson joining, replacing defender Curtis Osano and Kim Song-yong.

BFC’s Asian quest has received a setback in terms of their home support (which is the most essential part of home/away format), Tampines Rovers have also been depleted with the absence of their experienced striker Farzul Nawaz, who has been forced out with a long-term injury. Meanwhile, young pacey winger Udanta Singh has also recovered from an injury and will be available for selection.

But Roca could not hide his disappointing at the prospect of the match being played behind closed doors. He said, “It’s a real shame to not have our supporters in the stands tomorrow but these are circumstances that we’ve to accept now. We’re going to look to put in a good performance in a bid to get the best result. It’s been three and a half months without competition and the boys were keen to show where we are trying to get to. We just have to move on and give our best.”

 krishnendu@newindianexpress.com

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