BENGALURU: Bengaluru FC, champions from the 2013-14 season and runners-up from the last season, are scheduled to clash their swords with the defending champions Mohun Bagan at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday at 07:05 PM.
A win in the grand finale last season could have given Bengaluru FC their second consecutive Hero I-League title but the title hope was dashed by the 87th-minute header from Mohun Bagan defence general Bello Rasaq, who is donning the Red & Golds colour this season.
Bengaluru FC top the league table now with 15 points having amassed 5 wins so far. Mohun Bagan, the only unbeaten team until now in the ongoing Hero I-League, are third on the table with 11 points. Significantly, they have played two matches less than Bengaluru FC.
Ashley Westwood sounded pretty calm refereeing the epic encounter last season and denied to level tomorrow's match as a stage of vengeance, “No, we’re not playing a grudge match, we never lost the game against Bagan; we drew the match. It will be a very normal football match.”
On commenting about the consequence of the match on the entire league, he commented, “Bengaluru FC will be playing their 8th match, that’s like half-way to the league. We'll play 8 more matches, 24 points are there up for grabs. Tomorrow’s result would not deter the outcome of the league.” He further added, "saturday's game is obviously an important game for us, we’re playing against the title contenders. But the result won’t make or break the league.”
Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen addressed the media and put forward their intention clear, “When you are looking for the title, you have to win regardless of playing at home or away. You should target to win and earn as much as points as possible. We shall be looking for 3 points Saturday.”
Sen also added, “Undoubtedly this match will be a tough one for us. They are top notch in every department. Bengaluru FC are the most consistent team in the last three years. They might lose a match, but they comeback strongly.”
The encounter couldn't find a winner in both the occasions while the Mariners travelled to Bengaluru with the same scoreline of 1-1.
“We always look for positive results, even in last year’s match we were down by a goal, however, we pulled back one, and that gave us the Title. We will be looking for 3 points. If you play for a draw, you never know what will happen. Even if we don’t win and manage only one point that will be important for us, especially in the marathon league”, summed up Sen.
Bagan would heavily depend on their foreign recruits, especially strikers Cornell Glen and game-maker Sony Norde. Trinidadian striker Glen, who have played in 2006 FIFA World Cup, feels there is much pressure on them, “We are keen to win the league, they are too. We have to push our limits to get a positive result on Saturday.”
Mohun Bagan striker Balwant Singh, who had an excellent last season, will be missing tomorrow's encounter due to his prolonged injury.
Eugenson Lyngdoh is out of consideration owing to his injury. Udanta Singh and Ranjan Singh are on national duty in the ongoing South Asian Games.