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Coach Albert Roca believes that a tough fixture away from home against a team in form could be just what Bengaluru FC need to fix a wobble as the Blues take on Aizawl FC in the I-League on Wednesday.
A combination of injuries, suspensions and moments of poor luck has stretched the Blues’ winless streak to four games in the League. But the Spanish coach was confident that his side are close to turning a corner if the chances being created in attack are anything to go by. “We’ve been playing some good football and it’s only a matter of putting to bed the chances we are creating. Against Minerva, we were plain unlucky. But that’s football. We’ve picked ourselves up and are focused on the challenge that Aizawl will throw at us.
“They are a team that’s high on confidence and are playing at home which means everything is against us. It’s going to be a test of our character and I’m sure the boys will be up to it.”
Having played a game more than Bengaluru, Khalid Jamil-coached Aizawl are third on the table with 16 points and have turned up with some impressive performances this season. Their biggest win came last weekend when Aizawl clawed back from a goal down to beat Churchill Brothers 3-1 at home. Bengaluru, meanwhile, come off the back of a frustrating 1-1 stalemate at home against Minerva Punjab FC, where a late own goal canceled skipper Sunil Chhetri’s opener, his fourth goal in as many games.
The Blues will be without foreign centre backs John Johnson and Juan Gonzalez, who are still serving suspensions, and the coach expects expects a tough clash. “Aizawl are doing well and it is important to be cautious in our approach as we know that we cannot afford to slip up again. We cannot take them lightly or be complacent and have to put our chances away if we are to take anything away from this game,” he said.
Struggling Mumbai FC take on formidable Mohun Bagan
Mumbai: A struggling Mumbai FC are eager to stop their six-game losing streak when they take on Kolkata’s formidable Mohun Bagan in the I-League clash at the Cooperage Stadium.
MFC have tasted nothing but losses after starting their campaign with back to back wins over DSK Shivajians at home and Churchill Brothers (away). Head coach Santosh Kashyap, who said that such a lengthy losing streak had never happened before in his coaching career, is keen to maintain his mantra for the season – of playing attacking football. “We are in a bad phase. This game is very important for us and we will go all out for a win. We have three home games on the trot and will try to win all,” said Kashyap whose side has been beaten five times on the road during this phase. “I have become a better coach. In a bid to achieve an extraordinary target, setbacks do happen,” said Kashyap who maintained that his team, currently standing 8th in the ten-team league, was capable of finishing in the top three.
“I will not go for a draw and we will play attacking football. We will be in the top three at the end of the league,” said Kashyap, adding the team will be without Steven Dias, Victorino Fernandes, Trinidadian Densil Theobald and Anderson da Silva of Brazil.
Although beset with their own share of injuries, including the knee pain complaint of key Haitian medio Sony Norde, Federation Cup champions Bagan appear to carry enough firepower to dominate MFC.
Currently second on the table with 17 points, Bagan are anxious to get back to winning ways after the draw against East Bengal in the Kolkata Derby in Siliguri. “Mumbai FC is a good team and started the league with two wins. We have to be on the alert. It will be a difficult match. We have dropped points and want to win,” said Bagan’s head coach Sanjoy Sen.
Sen said as the team was to play four games in the next 12 days, including the AFC Cup qualifying match in Maldives against Club Valencia on February 21, he was carrying 29 players in his squad.
“We will see how he is feeling tomorrow. He’s complained of knee pain,” said Sen on Norde, adding that injured defender Raju Gaikwad was now “feeling good” but Subashish Bose has been ruled out of the tie.