BENGALURU: Bengaluru FC meet Hero I-League debutants Aizawl FC in their first match of the return leg at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium tomorrow. Standing third in the Hero I-League with 15 points, the Steelmen from the Garden City are in the pursuit of the title. The new entrants in the Hero I-League are in the seventh position with 8 points.
Bengaluru FC will be coming in Sunday’s match after a mini-break from the Hero I-League. They have played the AFC Cup opener against Lao Toyota FC in Laos in last 15days. However, in the previous two competitive games, Bengaluru ended up as the second best and definitely Ashley Westwood would try to better their records at home now.
Ashley Westwood, coming from a heart-breaking loss from Laos in the AFC Cup opener, looked at the positive side of things. “Fortunately, the game against Aizawl has come quickly which means we can get the defeat in Laos out of our system. Our performance wasn’t too bad. We made one individual error and then got done in by a poor decision by the referee. But now it’s all about Sunday. The pitch is looking really good. So hopefully, we can match it and put on a good performance.”
Bengaluru are currently third on the table having amassed six points less than the leaders Mohun Bagan and Westwood refused to make much of the gap, “We still have games left to play. We also play Mohun Bagan and Kingfisher East Bengal which means things are also in our own hands.”
“We have seen the game they (Aizawl) played against Shillong and that was with a new coach. He’s brought in a couple of new players. We have studied them as best as we could. They have made a few tweaks to their system and hopefully, we can come up with a counter and get the result we want,” said Westwood.
Aizawl have also rung in a transfer since the defeat against Bengaluru, replacing Atsushi Yonezawa with Nigerian striker Joel Sunday who was on target in their 2-0 win over Mumbai FC last week.
Westwood further added, “Michael Collins hurt his hand but he should be okay. Sunil Chhetri comes back into the squad after having a little bit of rest and recovery. We have a few knocks and bruises but not anything that’s going to stop anyone from being available for the game.”
What is frustrating for the Gaffer is the listless defending by the Blues this season. On the other end, Captain Chhetri and CK Vineeth have scored 3 apiece so far while North Korean striker Kim Song-Yong is looking shaky in front of the goal.
Master midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh, whose creativity in the midfield always provides an edge to the Blues, is yet to be match-fit following his prolonged injury.
For Aizawl FC, the addition of the lanky striker Yinka Joel Sunday has bolstered their strike force. Joel, who replaced another striker Atsushi Yonezawa, is no new in the North-East region. The forward has earlier plied his trade in the Second Division League for Langsing Sports Club and Chanmari FC. On his Hero I-League debut, Joel came out all guns blazing scored the opener against Mumbai FC just 9 minutes after joining the fray.
The super Sunday humdinger is slated to kick-off at 7 PM.
– I-League Media