Bengaluru FC keen to rediscover form

Westwood's side take on newcomers Aizawl

Bengaluru FC keen to rediscover form

Almost two months ago when the 2015-16 season kicked-off, Bengaluru FC looked like a side capable of challenging the best in the country.

And three wins from as many games in the opening half helped in establishing themselves as the side to beat. But since then, things have not gone according to plans for the Ashley Westwood-coached side. Bengaluru suffered an uncharacteristic loss at the hands of Mumbai FC – away from home – only to bounce back with a win against the giants of Indian football, East Bengal, in Kolkata. That was the only highlight for the city-based side, as what followed was heavy disappointment.

The loss at the hands of a disciplined Sporting Clube de Goa and the reigning champions Mohun Bagan at home not only saw them slip to the third spot in the league but also pushed their title aspirations into ‘red alert’. To add to that, Bengaluru’s campaign at the Asia Cup too didn’t yield a positive result as the JSW-owned side went down to Lao Toyota FC in their opening group game.

And now, when they take on newcomers Aizawl FC at the Sree Kanteerava stadium on Sunday, nothing less than three points will be on Bengaluru’s agenda as they look to weed out the inconsistency which seems to have become more of a norm than a rarity.

Skipper Sunil Chhetri -- who missed their AFC commitments to a groin strain -- is set to make a return to the side, while medio Michael Collins is a doubtful starter after the Irish national suffered a training ground injury. Malsawmzuala could take his place in the holding midfielder’s role, while it could be interesting to see if Westwood sticks with his new recruit Alwyn George, who’s had a difficult time since his switch from Dempo SC.
Challenging the inconsistent Bengaluru side will be Aizawl FC, a team that has grown from strength to strength with every passing game. Coached by Jahar Das, they are placed seventh in the league with two wins, two draws and four defeats from their eight games.

However, that would barely matter as the team from North East come on back of a convincing 2-0 win over Mumbai FC and will be keen to keep the good work going.
Last time the two sides met, Bengaluru managed to eke out a slender 1-0 win in Aizawl. While the goal came from a free-kick then, that game showed the hunger with which the Aizawl players can push for a win against an opponent. And if that is to be the bench mark, the Sunday’s clash promises to be a cracker of a contest.

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