Already out of contention for a knock-out berth, Aizawl FC would play for pride and look to end their AFC Cup campaign on high when their take on New Radiant SC of Maldives in their last group match here tomorrow. Without a win so far, Aizawl’s performance in their maiden AFC Cup participation have been disappointing.
They have lost four matches and drawn a match — against Abahani Limited Dhaka 1-1 in the first leg — and they are at the bottom of Group E with just one point.
The Aizawl based side, playing their matches here as their home ground in Mizoram is not eligible to host AFC matches, have nothing at stake except hoping for their maiden win at the continental stage.
Aizawl will still end at the bottom of the group even if they win tomorrow at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium.
The match will, however, have an impact elsewhere and Aizawl can do a favour to their fellow Indian side Bengaluru FC — who take on Abahani Limited in Dhaka tomorrow — if they beat the Maldivian side.
Bengaluru and New Radiant are currently on same 12 points and a win each for both tomorrow will keep them on par and who will proceed to the knock-out will be decided by the results of head-to-head matches. New Radiant have the advantage in that count.
Bengaluru had beaten New Radiant 1-0 at home while the Maldivian side emerged 2-0 victorious in the second leg, thereby, giving them a better goal difference head-to-head which will the deciding factor in such a situation under the tournament rules.
If Aizawl, the 2016-17 I-League winners, can at least draw New Radiant and Bengaluru beat Abahani tomorrow, Albert Roca’s men will be through to the knock-out round.
For New Radiant, they have come into tomorrow’s match with destiny in their own hands. It is a simple situation as they just need to beat Aizawl tomorrow without worrying about anything.