Thursday, March 27, 2014

Leaders Bengaluru face Pune in a crunch game

Bengaluru FC Media 
AIFF Media 

Bengaluru FC will be up against Pune FC in what will be the Airtel I-League leaders’ last home game of the season at the Bangalore Football Stadium, on Friday. With four games to the season, both sides are separated by 7 points with the visitors having a game in hand and tomorrow’s outcome will have a big bearing on what direction the title-chase shifts in. 

But Westwood, like he has maintained all season, refused to consider Bengaluru FC as potential League champions. “For me, our performance will always be more important that three points. We have always put on a committed, wholehearted and entertaining show and I expect the team to do just that on Friday. If the title happens to come our way, we will take it,” he said.

The two teams have met once in the I-League in November last year where Bengaluru went down 1-0 after John Menyongar missed from the spot in the last minute of the game and Pune FC midfielder Douhou Pierre said he is sure Bengaluru will be out for revenge. “Tomorrow is going to be a last chance to be able to stay in hunt at the top and we are focused on our game. They lost to us so I’m certain they will be looking at revenge,” he said.

Suspensions have hit both teams hard and coincidentally, it is players in identical playing positions. Bengaluru will be without goalkeeper Pawan Kumar and central defender Curtis Osano, Pune will not have ’keeper Amrinder Singh and Anas Edathodika. Partnering John Johnson in defence will be youngster Gurtej Singh who was part of the pre-game press conference. “This is an important game to be playing in and I am only happy that the coach has shown confidence in my ability. We hope to churn out the result we need,” said Singh. 

Bengaluru and Pune are coming into the game having suffered defeats away from home and Westwood said his side’s 3-0 defeat to Shillong Lajong was a bad day at office. “To be fair we have won away from home too and are on track for a good away record. As for tomorrow’s game, we have always enjoyed playing at home and our fans have been wonderful. They have helped us and we would to believe we too have given them reason to be happy about,” said Westwood. 

FORM (Last 5 matches, all competitions)
Bengaluru FC (1, 37 pts): L-W-W-L-D
Pune FC (3, 30 pts): L-L-D-D-D

HEAD-2-HEAD
06/11/13 – IL – Pune FC 1-0 Bengaluru FC at Pune 

Meanwhile opponent coach, Snoei said, “We are excited to play. It’s going to be nice game between two teams who want to play football. Bengaluru FC, like us, always likes to play football. There are very few teams in this league who like to play like that.” 

He further added, “Bengaluru FC have an impressive home record and crowds fill the stadium and that does make you feel strong. Like Bengaluru, we too are a new club that is trying to bring the youth to the stadiums.” 

Skipper Douhou Pierre knows the importance of the game ahead of the hectic schedule and explained, “We lost in the last minute of the (previous) game and it upset us all. But it was good that Bengaluru FC lost too. This game on Friday is our last chance to stay in the hunt at the top. They have lost in Pune and will be looking for revenge but we are focused on our game.”