An intriguing clash among equals
Bengaluru: With the travelling side boasting of a 100 per cent success on the road having won both their away matches, and the home side having turned their ground into a fortress with an unbeaten record, sparks are set to fly when Bengaluru Football Club host Shillong Lajong FC at the Bangalore Football Stadium, here on Sunday.
With their confidence high after the first away win in midweek, BFC will look to keep the momentum going but will be wary of the North-Eastern visitors who are unbeaten in the last six games and are expected to have a sizeable number of supporters at the stadium.
Playing free-flowing football with pace and players switching positions, Shillong’s approach is very easy on the eye and will be in stark contrast to the wellorganized Bengaluru side, who are more renowned for attacking at pace and using their wide men to stretch the game and set up the goals.
Despite their impressive performances and sitting pretty on the table in second position, BFC coach Ashley Westwood refuses to brand the team as title favourites.
“We are not expected to win anything this season so there is no pressure,” said the coach.
“We are just committed to play well and set our standards,” he explained claiming that if it leads to a title it would be a wonderful achievement.
With both sides having a fit squad, perhaps the most important and entertaining clash will be the one between Shillong’s Trinidad and Tobagao World Cup striker Cornell Glen and Brazilian Uilliams against Bengaluru’s John Johnson and Curtis Osano, who formed a formidable combination.
“I don’t know the team much. I play according to the flow of the game,” said Glen, highlighting the importance of the clash.
With BFC’s forward line and midfield showing consistency and hard work throughout the season, the Bengaluru side is sure to create chances.
Robin Singh gave a good display in the last match and with Sean Rooney returning from a niggle, the Men of Steel will be back to full strength and raring to go.
A further advantage to BFC is the presence of assistant coach Pradhyum Reddy and midfield general John Menyongar, both formerly from Shillong Lajong with the former having played a significant part in the signing of the latter.
Meanwhile Shillong coach Thangboi Singto is also in high spirits.
“We are six matches unbeaten at the moment and I am very happy with the side and we are looking to climb higher,” he said.
“It’s quite an open league. On a given day any team can beat anyone,” he stressed while indicating it will be a tough encounter.
While the teams seem to be evenly balanced, the stage is set for a cracking encounter between two sides that are on the ascent.
Something’s got to give.
In-form BFC and Shillong promise exciting action.