Friday, March 10, 2017

Bengaluru square off with Bagan as league switches gears

Bengaluru FC Media 
AIFF Media 

After witnessing a freaky Round 13 where all the home teams failed to register a win, Bengaluru FC take on Mohun Bagan tomorrow at their fortress Sree Kanterava Stadium. 

Bengaluru failing to register an away win against newbie Chennai City FC have been without their first choice keeper Amrinder for a while. The required understanding between defense is yet to build - resulting the first goal in their last match. 

Averting a close call against Mumbai FC at home, Bagan came in the Garden City sans custodian and most consistent performer of previous two seasons Debjit, out injured in the last match and medio Pranoy Halder. 

Bengaluru returning late evening yesterday (after playing Chennai) opted for evening practice today while Mohun Bagan practiced in the morning at the venue. 

Speaking to media in the pre-match press conference, Bengaluru coach, Albert Roca in his customary manner termed tomorrow’s encounter as a tough game, “Mohun Bagan is in title contention, they’ve come here to fight for three points. Also, it is time for us to play well and ensure we win.” 

Now that the hope of retaining Hero I-League is fading away, are they in a dilemma to focus on the AFC game, which they will be playing against the same opponent three days later?
“We always focus on our very next game. In our mind, we have the first game (tomorrow) to fight, and then we’ll take the next game. ” opined the Spaniard. 

He further added, “We’ve been generating lot of chances, but most important is to score - we need to be more aggressive inside the 18-yard box, strikers should score more goals.” 

Bengaluru have been fairly unlucky, few of their goals in away matches have been disallowed. Coach, not sounding frustrated, said, “We will not surrender, we will keep working, keep trying, and let’s see how we change our luck!” 

The champions of two seasons back, Mohun Bagan have task cut out should they want to be in title contention. Coach Sanjoy Sen is under immense pressure after giving away 5 points in last two rounds. 

“Priority is 3 points - this is important for us to stay afloat for championship and definitely I-League is our priority!”

Adding to the misery is the last two matches where team took lead and conceded two quick goals. However, what is comforting Sen is the performance of second-half in their last match, and hopes to continue that performance tomorrow. 

Sen feels that there’s no added pressure, “Teams from Kolkata always play for championship, now we have an addition in Bengaluru FC, who too are doing well. Of course there is pressure, but we’ve to overcome it by playing well, scoring and winning.” 

Defense seems to be the main worry and they’ve failed to hold lead many a times. There’s a long list of injured defenders in Raju Gaikwad, Kinshuk Debnath, and Kean Lewis. 

An exciting match in prospect as Bengaluru FC have never beaten Mohun Bagan at their fortress and failed to muster in previous two seasons.  

The match is scheduled at 7:05 pm and will be telecast live on Ten 2 television channel.