BFC look to bounce back

Westwood's men target victory against DSK Shivajians today

BFC look to bounce back

It was not the start Bengaluru FC were hoping for when they kick-started the stretch of three back-to-back home games in the I-League. An injury to their creative mastermind Eugeneson Lyngdoh, followed by an uncharacteristic loss to Sporting Clube de Goa at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium have pegged the Bengaluru outfit back.

Ashley Westwood’s men would look to bounce back from that blow when they take on newcomers DSK Shivajians here on Wednesday.

The defeat against Sporting also has had an effect on their position on the league table. The former champions have slipped to the second position with 12 points from their six matches while Kolkata giants East Bengal, who recorded a convincing win 4-0 over Shillong Lajong on Tuesday, are placed at the top with 14 points.

And if that was not enough, the Sporting tie also exposed a few chinks in the Bengaluru armory which their opponents will look to exploit. While the much talked about forward line hasn’t had a dominant outing after the initial few games, their midfield too looked like a shadow of its past as the absence of Lyngdoh was very evident. And it will be interesting to see if Westwood will once again go with Englishman Michael Collins in the holding midfielder’s role or will he revert to the 18-year-old Malsawmzuala who has surprised many with his quality on the field.

While Bengaluru will be keen to deploy their best men for the match on Wednesday, the visitors will hope to build on their new found form when they take on a team that is tipped as one of the favourites for the title. Earning a direct entry to the league for the 2015-16 season, the Pune-based outfit has had a topsy-turvy journey so far. After being held for a goalless draw by Sporting in their opening game, the Derrick Pereira-coached side endured a streak of three loses before notching up their first win in the top-flight football, beating Mumbai FC to occupy the eighth spot with four points from five games.

And they will be hoping to continue with their new found momentum and pierce through the heart of the Bengaluru defence whenever an opportunity arises. For such opportunities to come by, Shivajians will look up to their experienced players in Douhou Pierre and Mohammad Rafi, while hoping that the defensive duo of Haroon Amiri and Rohan Adnaik hold a tight line leaving no space for the Bengaluru forwards to exploit.

East Bengal winNigerian Ranti Martins scored a hat-trick as East Bengal thrashed Shillong Lajong 4-0 in an I- league encounter on Tuesday.

Bikash Jairu was the other scorer. Bengal took a crack at goal in the 10th minute by Rafique but his shot was punched away by Vishal Kaith of Lajong.

East Bengal’s opening strike came in the 17th minute through Ranti while his second goal came in the 26th minute.  Ranti duly completed a deserving hat-trick when he weaved past a rival defender and the goalkeeper to slot it home, making it 3-0.

After the change of ends, in the 52nd minute, Jairu rounded off the tally.

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