Struggling BFC seek reversal of fortune

Football I-League : Champs take on East Bengal in crunch tie

Struggling BFC seek reversal of fortune

 After three commanding wins at the start of the season, it was this tie away from home that kick-started Bengaluru FC’s worst run of form so far.

So, when the defending champions welcome East Bengal for the reverse fixture on Saturday, it will be more than just three points that will be on their minds when the two face-off at the Sree Kanteerava stadium.

The season has not gone as per Bengaluru’s plan so far. At the half-way mark, the city side is placed fifth in the league table with 13 points and trail table-toppers’ East Bengal (21) by eight points, albeit with the advantage of a game in hand. And anything less than a win here would see this gap widen, making life more difficult for the champions.

Though the transition to Albert Roca’s pass-and-move style of football has been somewhat smooth at Bengaluru, it’s a misfiring forward line and the momentary lapse in concentration by the defence that has let the team down.

“We’re creating chances but not scoring,” Roca pointed out on the eve of the tie. “We’re creating the most chances, making the most passes, performing the most offensive actions, but we’re not scoring. In front of goal, we’ve not been efficient enough, clinical enough.”

Roca’s statement was a testimony to the fact that the likes of CK Vineeth and Daniel Lalhlimpuia have not been on the top of their game. After a flying start which saw him net five goals in four games, Vineeth seems to have lost his scoring boots, while Lalhlimpuia looks like a kid lost in a fair when asked to play.

Though skipper Sunil Chhetri has made up for his misfiring partners upfront, expecting him to be the saviour day in and day out is asking for too much.

Injuries to a handful of key players too has added on to Roca’s troubles. Though full-back Rino Anto has returned to training and played the local league on Friday, he’s still a few games away from featuring in the league. John Johnson is nursing a broken rib, while goalkeeper Amrinder Singh too is set to miss the Saturday’s tie to a groin strain. Amrinder’s absence would see Arindam Bhattacharya get his first start of the season.

The visitors too look a troubled side on the injury front. Their leading goal scorer Willis Plaza is set to miss the tie after suffering a groin injury against Aizawl FC last week. Skipper Lalrindika Ralte too won’t take the field after receiving his fourth yellow card of the campaign, giving Romeo Fernandes another opportunity to stake his claim for a permanent place in the side.

Meanwhile, a former Bengaluru player Robin Singh will be hoping to show what the Blues is missing this season, while Harmanjot Khabra, a player who spent close to 10 years with the Kolkata side, will line-up against them only for the second time, adding an interesting sub-plot to a tie, where retribution will be on the agenda.

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