Newly crowned Hero I-League Champions Bengaluru FC will clash swords against Aizawl FC in the first match of the Hero Federation Cup 2016 at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl, Mizoram on . The kick-off for which is at .
The top eight teams of Hero I-league will be contending in the Hero Federation Cup which will see a total of 13 games. All the matches, except the Final are to be played on a two legged (home and away) knockout basis. While the Final will be played on a neutral ground. Bengaluru FC are the current holders of the Federation Cup having beaten Dempo 2-1 in the 2015 Final which was played at Margao, Goa.
In the Official Pre-Match Press Conference held today at Aizawl, both sides expressed their desires and intentions to win in the match . Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood said, "We have been fairly consistent this season and we hope to carry it into the Hero Federation Cup. We could not train as much as we would like to today after our long journey yesterday but we will play to win ."
Commenting on Aizawl FC, Westwood stated "Aizawl are a good team, it was sad to see to see them go out. They were a fresh team that showed excitement and did not deserve to be relegated."
Seminlen Doungel, the Manipuri striker, emphasized on the desire of his team to win and said, "I am very excited about our match with Aizawl , we will try our best to win." He also admitted that knock-out matches could be more difficult than league matches.
Aizawl FC coach Jahar Das stated that his side could create an upset come . "We were not the last team in the Hero I-League, and we were able to beat Mohun Bagan who were at the top, we can win .We have an advantage over them as they are a little tired, it will be difficult for them to hold us ."
"It was a difficult time for us when we heard that we have relegated. But now, we have to opportunity to play against the champions. They are the best team as of now and have been playing other tournaments like the AFC so that might work to our advantage", informed Aizwal FC's midfielder Albert Zohmingmawia.
In their two Hero I-League matches against each other, Aizawl FC suffered two defeats conceding one goal in each match without scoring against Bengaluru FC, however a new day beckons and who knows, maybe Aizawl FC can create an upset by defeating 'Champions of India' Bengaluru FC.