Preview: Bengaluru v Lao Toyota FC

Bengaluru will be eager to pick up vital points in Group H when they host Lao Toyota FC in Wednesday’s AFC Cup action.

A win for the hosts at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore will almost certainly book their place in the last 16 of the competition, while Lao Toyota have a very slim chance of progressing to the next round as they have just three points from their four matches.

Bengaluru are after the final qualifying place in Group H after Malaysian giants Johor Darul Ta’zim secured their place with a win over Lao Toyota on Match Day Three.

The Indian club had a slow start to their campaign with back-to-back losses, but have righted the ship with two wins since, the latest being a commanding 5-3 win over Ayeyawady United.

On the domestic front, Bengaluru sit on top of the I-League table despite a 5-0 drumming at the hands of Mohun Bagan on Saturday.

With Bengaluru on the verge of booking their spot in the last 16, coach Ashley Westwood is determined to see his side come out on top even though he knows it will be much easier said than done.

“It is vital to win tomorrow as our last game is against Johor and they are the strongest team in the competition, nevermind the group,” Westwood told reporters. “We’ve fortunately got a few players fresh so hopefully they’ll be hungry and show it in their performance.

“They’ve got some good foreigners and are a fairly well-balanced team with a bit of pace, but we need to take care of our business and try to get a result.”

Meanwhile, Lao Toyota are in a precarious position at the bottom of the Group H standings and are in desperate need of a win.

The Laos outfit can take some confidence in the fact that they edged Bengaluru 2-1 in their first meeting on February 24. They also thrashed Xaythany City 7-0 in their Lao League match on Saturday.

However, with three defeats from their last three AFC Cup matches, the writing is on the wall, and coach Valakone Phomphakdy knows it.

“It is a decisive match; if we can get the points tomorrow we can go to the next round, which is why it is also important for both teams,” he said.

“We will try to win the game because we won the home match against them, and we still hope to qualify.

“We have already played each other but we know it will be different in their country…we have to be careful because they beat Ayeyawady.”

Bengaluru and Lao Toyota will face each other at 21:15 HKT on FOX Sports 2.