BFC pursuing top spot

BFC pursuing top spot

Carles Cuadrat

Fresh after securing their place in the final qualifying round of the AFC Cup with a 9-1 drubbing of Paro FC, Bengaluru FC shift focus back to the Indian Super League where they take on eighth-placed Kerala Blasters FC on Saturday. 

With their place in the playoffs confirmed, the Blues will look for a win as they target a spot in the continental competitions next season. The winner of the league stage will play in the AFC Champions League while the second-placed team will get an AFC Cup group stage spot.

"Every game is important," said BFC coach Carles Cuadrat here on Thursday. "The good news is that we are already in the playoffs. The other target is to play in the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup next season. So we'll work to try and get the points to get closer to achieving it. It’s not in our hands but we'll try our best." 

The job will not be easy as they will travel to Kochi without three key players -- Sunil Chhetri, Juanan Gonzalez and Raphael Augusto. The first two have racked up four yellow cards each while the latter has been ruled out for the remainder of the season as he continues to recover from an injury. Augusto's replacement and new signing Kevaughn Frater has been included in the squad.

"Sunil has four yellow cards, so he'll not travel to Kerala. It's the same with Juanan. Raphael has an injury because of which we had to bring a new player. Kevaughn is talented. He can play in any of the attacking positions. He can play down the wings, as a striker or just in behind. That's the important thing about my team, that players can manage different situations," said Cuadrat.

BFC took the honours when they last met Kerala, in what was a feisty encounter, at the fully packed Sree Kanteerava Stadium. Cuadrat is expecting a similar atmosphere in Kochi. "They have a great group of supporters. If you play against the champions of the league like we are this season, for sure, it will be a great motivation to finish the season with a nice game at home and victory against us. I am expecting a great game," said Cuadrat.