BFC eye third victory

Football I-League : Blues take on Shillong in first home game

BFC eye third victory

After enjoying a perfect start to their I-League campaign with two wins in as many games so far, Bengaluru FC will look to continue their fine form when they take on Shillong Lajong FC in their third encounter here on Sunday.

The hosts occupy the second spot on the league table with six points and will be keen to surpass Mohun Bagan — who drew with East Bengal on Saturday — with a win against the eighth-placed Lajong in their first home game at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

The Bengaluru side have signed up nine new players for the 2015-16 season and the first two games gave a glimpse of what they have added to the Ashely Westwood-led side.

While North Korean striker Kim Song Yong seems to be a force to reckon with up front, the 18-year-old Malsawmzuala has been a constant threat for the opposition defenders in his previous league encounters. Not far behind is former Dempo SC midfielder Alwyn George who has been effective in the middle of the park.

“They’re good footballers, guys who can add substantially to our side. Alwyn is a player I liked the minute I saw him three years back. He’s probably one of the naturally gifted players. Zuala (Malsawmzuala) and Kim likewise have shown us what they can do. One is smart up front, while the other knows to defend the ball well when he is in possession,” said Westwood.

While Bengaluru has grown from strength to str­ength in the past three years, Lajong has assumed the role of an unpredictable side.

Though they have sprung a number surprises, including an emphatic 6-0 win over Mumbai FC last season, the ease with which they tend to undo all the hard work has restricted them to being a mid-table side in the past.

Their head coach Thangboi Singto felt a solid start is a must if they’re to challenge the big boys in the league.

“We drew our first game against Mumbai FC at home. That was disappointing. But that’s done now, we’re looking at the game at hand and we hope to give our best against Bengaluru. We need to get good results out of these ties if we are to be counted with the bigger sides in the league,” he said.

Apart from Brazilian forward Uilliams Souza and Nigerian tactician Penn Orji, who formed the core of the Lajong side last season, Singto has added another Brazilian forward Fabio Pena and Japanese defender Yusuke Yamagata to bolster his side.

The four foreigners played a vital role in keeping the Mumbai side at bay in their opening match and they will once again be the key if Lajong are to get anything from the tie against a superior Bengaluru side on Sunday.

Fast fact

 The match will kick-off at 7:00 pm and the tickets are available at the Kanteerava stadium, Bangalore Football stadium, Arbor Brewing Company and on www.bookmyshow.com.

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