Bengaluru FC take on Shillong Lajong FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Shillong, on Saturday knowing a win would take them level on points in fourth position with the side from the hills and push their bid to finish what’s been a tough season, on the best note possible.
Albert Roca’s side come into this game on the back of a 1-0 win over title contenders Aizawl in Bengaluru and though injury-hit, the Spaniard hopes his side will have enough to tide over what he will be a tough task given Lajong’s dominance at home. “Both Lajong and us are trying to finish the season as high as possible on the points table. While we are out of the title race, they are still in it mathematically which makes Saturday’s game a very tough proposition. Like most of the season, we’ve been hit with a couple of injuries for this game which makes our task tougher, but we need to play well if we are to carry a momentum of sorts for our AFC Cup game on the 18th,” said Roca.
Goalkeeper Amrinder Singh and defender Sandesh Jhingan haven’t made the trip owing to minor injuries and Roca didn’t deem it worth risking them given the Blues host Abahani Dhaka on Tuesday. Udanta Singh, who had to be substituted in the 25th minute against Aizawl with an ankle injury, looks like being a late call when Roca decides on the starting XI he will roll out. Amrinder’s injury meant Lalthuammawia Ralte makes it to the squad for the first time since the AFC Cup final in November, post which he picked up an injury himself.
Lajong, who played out a 1-1 draw against Mohun Bagan on Wednesday, will have fatigue to contend with. The Thangboi Singto-coached side had Bagan on the ropes for a better part of the game, fell behind and then soon found an equalizer to share points. Lajong’s Cameroonian striker Aser Dipanda made it 10 goals in the League and will be the man that the Blues will have to keep in check.
Bengaluru played Lajong in the season opener at Kanteerava, a game that finished 3-0 in favour of the Blues and Roca will hope that his side can recreate some of the dominance from that night in Bengaluru when they step on the pitch on Saturday.
The match kicks off at 14.00 IST and will be telecast live on Ten 2.
(Bengaluru FC Press Release)