History beckons trailblazers Bengaluru FC as they lock horns with Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya of Iraq in the summit clash of AFC Cup in Doha on 5 November, aiming to become the first Indian football club to clinch a continental title.
Bengaluru FC have already created history by becoming the first Indian club to qualify for the final of a continental tournament after they defeated defending champions Johor Darul Ta'zim in the semifinals on 4-2 aggregate last month.
Before this, the farthest an Indian club had advanced in a continental tournament was the two AFC Cup semifinal appearances by Dempo in 2008 and East Bengal in 2013.
But a bigger glory, which will be unprecedented in the annals of Indian football history, awaits Bengaluru as they prepare to clash with the Iraqi side, which, just like the Indian club, is also playing in its maiden AFC Cup final, at the Qatar Sports Club stadium.
A first in Indian football
No football team from India, a laggard in the international arena, has won an Asian level title since the national side bagged the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games gold.
East Bengal won the first ASEAN Championship in Indonesia in 2003, beating Thai club BEC Tero Sasana 3-1 in the final. But that was a tournament competed by 10 sides from South East Asian countries plus East Bengal representing India as an invitational team.