bengaluru fc
The Bengaluru FC army go into their first home game of AFC Cup 2016IANS

Bengaluru FC's campaign in the AFC Cup 2016 didn't have the best of start as they lost their opening game of the competition 1-2 against Lao Toyota FC in Laos, last month.

However, the action now shifts to the Kanteerava Stadium in the garden city. The Blues take on defending AFC Cup champions Johor in their second game of the competition this season and this match is simply unmissable.

Going by their form of last season, Johor are the winners against Bengaluru FC. The Malaysian side also won the Malaysian Super League last season apart from lifting the AFC Cup 2015 crown.

This is the second clash between them. Bengaluru FC faced Johor in a thrilling encounter in the qualifiers of the AFC Champions League last season, where the Malaysian side got the winner in the end. "It's going to be a good game. They are a good team and are champions of the AFC Cup with right reason," Westwood said ahead of the game.

"We've played them last season and know what to expect from them. They have made a couple of changes from last year and I believe they are stronger."

Bengaluru FC are currently third in Group H in the AFC Cup 2016, while Johor lead the table. They registered a whopping 8-1 victory over Ayeyawady United in their last fixture of the competition. Johor skipper Mohd. Safiq scored a hat-trick in the game.

"I think it's very important to win and not draw the match as we are AFC Cup defending champions,"  Johor coach Mario Gomez told the official AFC website.

"Bengaluru are a strong team and it will be a tough game for us, but the morale is good in the team and it's the same group that won last year's tournament. This year, we have started well, we are motivated and the team is in good spirits."

For Bengaluru FC, the injuries in the squad make it look all the more frustrating for Westwood. With Eugeneson Lyngdogh still not fit to participate in the game and Shankar Sampingiraj ruled out for the remainder of the season and Curtis Osano picking up a groin strain, it can only get worse for the Blues.

However, the bright news is Sunil Chhetri returns to the fold after his injury and looks set to appear in his first AFC Cup 2016 game.

"We're given good amount of rest time and taken care of and as players we will try to give our best. I know for a fact that all of the players have given their best to get selected for the match," Chhetri said on being asked about BFC's cramped schedule.

"As a player you can never say I am 70 per cent fit today or 80 per cent or 90 per cent. If you ask me, you only know if you are out or in. If you're in, you give your best, the rest the gaffer (Ashley Westwood) will decide," he added.

Where to follow the updates

Bengaluru FC vs Johor is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. IST (9:20 p.m. Singapore time), March 3.

Viewers in Malaysia can catch the game on Fox Sports. Online streaming is available on Fox Sports Play.

The match will have no broadcast or online live streaming in India.

However, the live updates can be found on the official Bengaluru FC Twitter handle.

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