Friday, March 31, 2017

Bengaluru resume league battle with Mohun Bagan showdown in Kolkata

Bengaluru FC Media

In a fixture that’s never lacked intensity, Bengaluru FC will square off against Mohun Bagan for a third straight time as the I-League resumes after a fortnight-long international break, at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, in Kolkata, on Saturday.

While the Blues’ chances of retaining the League title are all but over, coach Albert Roca believes that the need to put in a good show ahead of an important AFC Cup tie against Maziya S&RC away from home in just three days from now and the prospect of coming up against Bengaluru’s arch rivals on the domestic stage should work as enough motivation for his boys to deliver.

“We are up against Mohun Bagan and that should tell you how important this game is for us. Also, while we may not be able to finish on top of the table, we need to climb as high as possible, on it. It’s going to be a very difficult game because Bagan know that if they drop points, their title aspirations will suffer a major dent too.”

Prior to the international break, Bengaluru faced the Sanjoy Sen-coached side on consecutive occasions, as a goalless draw in the League was followed by a comeback win for the Blues in the opening game of the 2017 AFC Cup. The Spaniard has called for his side, who are in fifth place, to be competitive if they are to take anything away from Kolkata this time around.

“We are the champions of India and we will be playing like that on Saturday. There is no point coming here if we aren’t going be competitive,” said Roca, while addressing the press on the eve of the game.

Bengaluru had as many as seven players away with the national team for the AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Myanmar and Roca said he still hasn’t decided the team that he will roll out against Bagan a side that sits in third place on the League table. “We play two important games in four days and I’m going to have to see how we handle this situation. What you can expect for certain is that the team that plays will be one that chases a win.”

Defender Rino Anto and goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte miss out as they continue to recover from their injuries while Mohun Bagan are boosted by the presence of Sony Norde, who trained with the side following his return from international duty with Haiti at the CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifiers.