Tampines to play AFC Cup tie behind closed doors
Tampines to play AFC Cup tie in front of empty stands after violence erupts in Indian state
Known as India's Silicon Valley, Bengaluru is a bustling city in the state of Karnataka.
But after at least two were killed amid protests over the Cauvery river water row with neighbouring state Tamil Nadu, it was a quiet day yesterday.
A recent Supreme Court ruling ordering Karnataka to share more water with their neighbours - both states claim they need water urgently for irrigation - has seen people there turning to violence.
S.League outfit Tampines Rovers are in the sub-continent to play the first leg of the AFC Cup quarter-finals against Bengaluru FC, but found themselves caught in the eye of the storm.
Tampines Rovers coach Akbar Nawas told The New Paper: "The roads are clear and the shops are closed.
"We have advised the boys to stay indoors at all times and have requested for police escort whenever we need to go for trainings and the match.
"We arrived on Sunday and training was cancelled, but we managed to have a full session today (Monday).
"We are all focused and raring to go, get a positive result to set us up well for the return leg at home next week."
The team are staying at the Chancery Hotel which is a 20-minute drive from the Bengaluru-Mysuru road, where more than 60 vehicles, mostly trucks and buses, were set on fire.
Night curfew has also been imposed in 16 police station limits and public gatherings were banned in a bid to rein in the unrest.
Football naturally takes a backseat amid such turmoil and the match will kick off at 4pm (6.30pm, Singapore time) today, three hours earlier than scheduled, behind closed doors at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium due to security concerns.
Tampines will miss suspended defender Shakir Hamzah, but welcome back key striker Billy Mehmet, who has already scored three goals in this competition.
Akbar said: "We have to stay calm and be tactically smart in how we approach the game.
"Billy's return gives us a big boost as he is a big-game player who has also played in India before.
"The match should be an evenly contested one and we will need to keep an eye on their attackers, even if it's an all-local frontline, especially Sunil Chhetri and Eugeneson Lyngdoh.
"It has been more than 10 years since Home United and Geylang International last made the semi-finals in 2004, and it would be a fantastic achievement for Tampines if we can make it that far for the first time in our club's history."
Meanwhile, Bengaluru FC have undergone much change since they won the I-League in April, with former Barcelona assistant coach Albert Roca replacing Ashley Westwood as head coach.
Roca told goal.com: "We have some weak points to address and improve on because it's not easy to start from behind, to have transitions and score.
"Balance will let us play the way we want to and that is going to give us good results.
"We cannot change what is. I have to adjust the preparations with the schedule that we have at the moment.
"We have played a few friendly games as it's a test to see if the team are shaping up well.
"The expectation, of course, is to move forward to the next round. This is a competition that people expect us to get more from but, until now, Indian teams haven't done too well in Asia.
"We are expected to do better with the circumstances that we are in, which are not that easy. But I can assure you we will try our best."