The league leaders are back in action as they face the Mumbai FC challenge on Sunday afternoon...
Bengaluru FC resume their I-League campaign following a winter break when they face Mumbai FC on Sunday afternoon at the Bangalore Football Stadium.
The newcomers have been the toast of the season as they are leading the table with another nine games to go. Their form at home has been impeccable with five wins, one draw out of seven games played.
At the Federation Cup, they started their campaign with a 5-3 win over Sporting Clube de Goa only to draw against Rangdajied United which was followed by a defeat to East Bengal.
When they faced Mumbai FC in an away encounter, the southern club drew 2-2 with Khalid Jamil’s side scoring a late equalizer despite being a man down.
Bengaluru FC have scored the maximum number of goals so far (25) and it will be interesting to see if they continue their form in the absence of the suspended Sunil Chhetri. That would open up space for Robin Singh to earn a start. The addition of CK Vineeth from United SC will also give coach Ashley Westwood an option on the left flank.
“Any side at the bottom will always be a dangerous proposition. We never take anything for granted. This game will be as tough as it gets,” said Westwood.
Bengaluru play six of their remaining nine fixtures away from home. Is it a case of making their home advantage count in order to win the league title, Westwood stated, “You do well based on a complete season. It’s the first half and the second half of the League put together that decides a champion.”
On the other hand, Mumbai FC are looking to add as many points in order to avoid finishing at the bottom of the table at the end of the season.
They have picked up a crucial point against United Sports Club despite being second best for most of the match, except the final 20-to-25 minutes.
Except for Climax Lawrence, they have most of the players in top condition.
“We have to win our next game against Bengaluru,” said Jamil.
Bengaluru would look to avoid giving away needless fouls in 30-yard zone as Nicholas Rodrigues’ left footed free-kicks are a threat for any side. Alfeed Jaryan looked rusty in the last game but Ahmad Hatifie does spray good passes from the middle of the park. Ebi Sukore is expected to start to add more creativity to the side.
Mohammed Rafi is fit and being deployed on the wing with Jayesh Rane on the opposite flank.
The experience and guile of Yusif Yakubu is their greatest asset and Bengaluru FC would need to take notice of that, else they would certainly drop some points.
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