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Protests will hit fan turnout at AFC quarterfinal

In the wake of the violent protests in the city, Wednesday’s AFC Cup quarterfinal clash between Bengaluru FC and Tampines Rovers will be played behind closed doors at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. The match will kick-off at 4 p.m., three hours earlier than scheduled, and will only be open to the teams, their staff, ball boys, medical personnel, match officials, and limited media.

“It’s a shame not to have our supporters watching the game,” said Albert Roca, the BFC head coach. “After three-and-a-half months with no competition, even our players wanted to do well before the fans. But we have to accept the reality and do our best.”

Asked if he felt his side had lost home advantage, Roca firmly stated that there would be no let up in effort. “I spoke to the players. It cannot be an excuse for a poor performance. Let’s be focused. If we have to work extra to succeed, let’s do it,” he said.

The Tampines Rovers midfielder Fabian Kwok felt playing behind closed doors could help his side. “Since we are playing away, it can only benefit us, because the crowd would have supported Bengaluru,” he said. “But we just want to come here and get the job done.”

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