Ashley Westwood's side will be hoping to gain all three points against the Kolkata side battling relegation...Bengaluru FC take on Kolkata side Mohun Bagan in round 24 of the I-League at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on Sunday afternoon.
Both teams will be looking to gather full points for entirely different reasons. While the Blues sit pretty at the top of the table, Mohun Bagan are locked in a relegation battle with 5 other teams.
Ashley Westwood's side played out a 1-1 draw against Pune FC in the previous round in what was their final home game of the season. They are chasing the title in their maiden season in the I-League and with just 4 wins from 9 away games this term, they will have to avoid any away blues if they are to win the League.
Westwood conceded that it would be a tough game and that his team will have to put in consistent performances in their remaining three fixtures. Speaking ahead of the fixture, he said, “It’s going to be a tough game. Mohun Bagan are a big team with tremendous history and we will have to work extra hard to be able to take back anything from Kolkata. The League is seeing some very exciting times. It’s important that we remain consistent as we have been all season."
The good news for Bengaluru is that their first choice keeper Pawan Kumar and centre back Curtis Osano will be available for selection after their one match suspension. This effectively ensures that Westwood has a full squad to choose from.
Skipper Sunil Chhetri maintained that the Bengaluru camp were relaxed in spite of a tough title race. He said,"There is very little margin for error but there’s no pressure or panic in the camp. We have been training hard and will be keen on exhibiting the standards we have set for ourselves."
Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, are on 24 points from 21 games and are involved in a relegation dog fight. The Mariners will be hoping Bengaluru's poor away form continues as they in order to increase their chances of survival.
Karim Bencherifa's side will look to draw inspiration from their previous encounter against title contenders Sporting Clube de Goa against whom they pulled off an upset 3-1 victory.
"This year, the I-League is turning out to be rather inconsistent. Teams are losing unexpectedly. There has been ups and downs. I still hope we will be able to finish within top three. But more than anybody else, we want to win it for our own sake," said coach Karim Bencherifa.
The home side may have to do without the services of defender Aiborlang Khongjee, while rest of the squad is available for selection.
Salgaocar FC and East Bengal fans would be vouching for Mohun Bagan to not let Bengaluru pick any point form the game in order to boost their chances to win the title.
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