BENGALURU: Bengaluru FC is eyeing their second Hero I-League trophy in three years and Ashley Westwood cleared his intentions playing with a second-string side in their AFC Cup match against Ayeyawady United, Myanmar last Wednesday. Gaffer refrained from fielding a full-strength squad which included stars like Sunil Chettri, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, and the foreigners, ensuring he gets his best eleven against Salgaocar FC to secure the most coveted silverware of Indian football with one match in hand.
Salgaocar have found their lost form under the tutelage of Santosh Kashyap. The Goan outfit are unbeaten in their last five matches, including their win against debutants Aizawl FC in the last round.
Bengaluru Gaffer looked poised in the pre-match press conference, “I have no expectations, it is a normal game of football, we will play for a win. Everything is in our hands, hope we’ll put up a good performance, and get results thereafter.”
Ashley further added, “We are at home, chance for us to put up a good performance in front of our fans.”
Eugenson Lyngdoh has been a mainstay in the Bengaluru FC team. His return after six-weeks of injury has made most of the difference for the Steelmen. Citing how tormenting it is to stay away from the game, he responded, “Always it’s tough for a player to be on the sideline, but injuries are part and parcel of football.
“When Eugene got injured, Shankar came in and did a good job for us, and then he got injured! We always got the capability to shuffle around. Should Eugune being fit throughout the season, he probably wouldn’t have played all the games, we would have rotated him. It is just another opportunity for players to step into his shoes”, Ashley added.
With two more rounds to go (including tomorrow’s match), Salgaocar would surely like to climb up the points table. But most importantly, they would be looking forward to spoil Bengaluru FC’s party and keep the Hero I-League alive till the last round.
However, one major worry for Kashyap is his star performer Darryl Duffy’s absence. Duffy, who has netted 11 goals till now, will miss the match owing to card suspension.
“We are not in pressure, the pressure is on Bengaluru”, giggled a jovial Kashyap while addressing the media today.
”We will see how we can put more pressure on them, so that they crack”, Santosh Kashyap added, “We’ve achieved our first objective, which is to avoid relegation. Now we are aiming to finish at the top for and we will achieve only by playing well in the last two rounds.”
Salgaokar coach is unperturbed by Duffy’s absence, “Duffy is an important member, in his absence, we’ve defeated East Bengal, also, fared well on other matches in his absence.”
The Goan team will miss a few players due to injury, Kashyap added, “It is not just only Duffey, there are several other members like Gurjinder Kumar, Calvin Mbarga, Clifton Dias, who are injured and not in the recent scheme of things. But we have a big squad, it is up to the players like Manandeep & others to rise to the occasion.”
The last home game of Bengaluru FC in the ongoing Hero I-League will kick off at 07:05 PM and it’ll be beamed live on Ten 2.
– I-League Media