BFC hope to make it three finals in a row

BFC hope to make it three finals in a row

Bengaluru FC will hope captain Sunil Chhetri (left) will come to life against ATK on Sunday.

In a two-legged tie, a 1-0 result in the first is a dangerous one. It often lends a false sense of security for the victors of the first leg. It will be this mentality and a desperate ATK that will be up against Bengaluru FC as they face the side from Kolkata in their home turf in the second leg of the Indian Super League semifinal.

At the Salt Lake Stadium, BFC will walk in with having made sure they didn't concede an away goal. This means the visitors can choose to settle for a draw and still make the final. ATK, on the other hand, will have to score, and not only that, win with a difference of two goals too if they are to clinch the coveted final spot in regulation time.

For BFC, a spot in the final is the very least they need to do to save a season which will be clouded by their elimination even before reaching the AFC Cup group stage spot.

"It will be a very tough game. It was important to score in the first leg and not concede, which gives us an advantage going to Kolkata, but we are under no impression that the second leg will pan out in a similar way. ATK have a good record at their stadium and they have players in their ranks who can make a difference. We know we can go there and draw or even lose 2-1 or 3-2 and still get to the final. So we will try," said BFC coach Carles Cuadrat.

The Spanish tactician will take heart from the fact that the ATK forward line of Roy Krishna and David Williams are yet to score against his defence this campaign.

With their season been built on defensive solidity, the 10 clean sheets in the league phase a testament to that, there will be big changes in the backline, which will worry the Catalan. BFC will be without suspended left-back Nishu Kumar while centre-back Albert Serran is doubtful with a strained groin.

This means the onus will once again fall on the midfield duo of Erik Paartalu and Dimas Delgado to screen the backline. Suresh Singh Wangjam will be key with his versatility and ability to cover ground. Don't be surprised if Cuadrat makes some surprise as well, in the team selection.

The two foreigners midfielder did well to stop the passing lanes in the first game and the same will be expected of them again.

"We know they have two strikers who are talented. So we have to sacrifice a little bit on attack and one of us has to always be in front of the two central defenders to try to avoid the connections between Edu (Garcia) and the two guys," said Delgado. "It's more demanding because you are trying to have the ball, help in attack, win the second ball and be compact. But you know as soon as they break, you have to be back in the space to defend."

While Bengaluru produced a masterful defensive performance in the first leg, ATK will bank on their home form, six wins in nine home games, to change the result at home.

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