ISL: Bengaluru FC look to nail ATK

Roca's men look to ride on winning momentum

ISL: Bengaluru FC look to nail ATK

Bengaluru FC is not usually accustomed to their fortress being breached but have had to endure late heart-break in the last couple of fixtures at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

A 1-2 loss to Chennayin FC and a narrow 0-1 defeat to Jamshedpur FC at home had left the Blues deflated but they rejuvenated their Indian Super League campaign with a dominant 3-1 victory away to Kerala Blasters on new year's eve.

On Sunday, BFC will come up against two-time champions ATK here with a hope of gaining momentum against a Kolkata side that have been struggling to string together a set of good results.

While the city-based side had an effervescent start to the ISL with four wins and a loss in their first five games, the losses to Chennaiyin and Jamshedpur threatened to derail their progress. But coach Albert Roca, while admitting that it was a tough league to be in, said it was a good lesson for his side.

"The losses were definitely a good lesson for the team and for me personally. It shows that sometimes, a point is better than not having any at all. It showed where we were going wrong. But we have to look forward from that point on and ensure we don't repeat those mistakes."

Roca's men will come into the game knowing that ATK will have the benefit of having former BFC coach Ashley Westwood on their side.

Westwood, who achieved plenty with Bengaluru, was appointed Techincal Director of the defending champions after leaving BFC and while his knowledge could be invaluable, Roca believes his side are well equipped and Westwood may not be as familiar with the new recruits.

"Of course, he has spent a lot of time at the club and has an extensive knowledge of the club but there have been a lot of new players that have come in since his departure and that will pose a challenge."

The league's second top goal scorer Miku and youngster Udanta Singh took a knock during their win in Kochi but Roca affirmed that he had a fully fit squad at his disposal, barring reserve goalkeeper Abhra Mondal.

It is widely expected that the Spaniard will field the same side XI but could opt to bring in Lenny Rodrigues in place of Dimas Delgado in midfield.

For ATK, their superstar striker Robbie Keane, who has been linked with a return to English Championship toppers Wolverhampton Wanderers, will spearhead the attack that have found goals hard to come by.

Former Newcastle United midfielder Ryan Taylor and winger Zequinha have stood out for Teddy Sheringham's men in what has otherwise been a very ordinary start to their title defence.

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