I-League: Close Bengaluru-United game on anvil

I-League: Close Bengaluru-United game on anvil

Bengaluru FC (BFC) face their toughest test yet in their debut I-League football season when they take on Kolkata's United Sports Club in the third round here Sunday.

The Ashley Westwood-trained BFC have four points from a draw and a win to United's six after two outings with the Kolkata outfit, one of the oldest clubs in the country having been founded in 1927, and coached by Dutchman Eelco Schattorie winning both their home games.

In the two home games, BFC looked a well-knit unit and even had their chances to beat Mohun Bagan in the opening fixture that they drew 1-1 while they were in a different league against Rangdajied whom they drubbed 3-0.

On the morrow, BFC go up against a team that is riding high on confidence after their back-to-back wins, albeit in home matches with their star striker Ranti Martins from Nigeria scoring once apiece in both the outings as also his Liberian partner up front Eric Brown.

The BFC will need to keep a sharp eye on the two imports who on their day can slip through the best of defences. While Martins has been with the United for a long time and even scored the winning goal against East Bengal in the IFA Shield final last year, Brown is one of the few new signings for the club that is currently cash-strapped after its previous owners being caught up in the chit-fund scam.

In contrast, BFC have had a great start to their debut season with Aussie striker Sean Rooney scoring in both the games to underline his prowess and undoubtedly, the team would be again looking up to him to deliver against United who finished fourth in last year's I-League.

Also coming good for the Sunil Chhetri-led BFC has been striker Beikhokhei Beingaichho who had a hand in two of the three goals against Rangdajied, first with a corner-kick that John Johnson headed home and then an astute pass to help Rooney strike.

Thus, on the face of it, United and BFC appear well-matched and that promises a close and exciting game on the morrow. The home team's chances would hinge on its ability to cash in on the obvious advantages of playing in familiar conditions with solid crowd support while for United, it could boil down to keeping their nerves.

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