I-League champions Bengaluru FC will begin their continental quest this season with a tough test away against Al-Wehdat in Jordan in an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League preliminary stage fixture on Tuesday.
Bengaluru reached the final of the AFC Cup last year, where they lost 0-1 to Iraq’s Air Force Club.
Bengaluru’s Spanish coach Albert Roca said his side will have to produce a special performance at the King Abdullah International Stadium if they are to advance beyond the preliminary stage of the competition.
“The AFC Champions League is the highest level of competition in the continent, so I don’t think I need to spell out how tough a test this will be. We are coming up against a team that is far more experienced than us but we have to be ready for every sort of challenge if we want to consistently compete in Asia,” said Roca on Monday.
The last time Bengaluru competed for a spot in the Champions League group stages was in February, 2015, when they lost against Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim 2-1.
Bengaluru’s opponents have won the Jordan League for the last three seasons and 15 times in all apart from 10 Jordan Football Association (FA) Cup titles, 12 Jordan Super Cup titles and eight Jordan FA Shield titles.
In Asia, their best finish was reaching the semi-finals of the AFC Cup in 2011.
Bengaluru approach the game having suffered consecutive defeats in the I-League. But Roca refused to cite the blip as a reason for worry.
“No one in the team sees it like that. The boys know they cannot afford to make the mistakes that have cost us in the League against a side like Wehdat and on a stage like this. While I cannot predict Tuesday’s outcome, I know that the team will turn up with the kind of attitude I want to see,” he said.
The Jordanian side, meanwhile, are riding on the back of four straight wins and sit second on the Jordan League table at the half-way stage.
“They are the favourites and we are going to have to be very organised if we want to cause them any trouble. There’s also much talk about the cold weather conditions but we refuse to make much of it,” said Roca.