THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Bengaluru FC and East Bengal ready to serve sizzler

Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC

I-League leaders Bengaluru FC host East Bengal at the Bangalore Football Stadium, on Sunday, in what’s shaping up to be a humdinger of a duel if the pre-game buzz is anything to go by. A completely sold out stadium and a pre-match press conference that lasted longer than usual are only feelers of the battle that will unfold on field.

The teams meet for a second time this season after Bengaluru were handed their first defeat – a 2-0 result – by East Bengal at Kalyani and though the odds seem to favour the hosts this time around, Ashley Westwood isn’t seeing much into it. “We know we are the form side but all we need to do is doing exactly what we have been. If you have to be winners, you need to be consistent,” said the coach on the eve of the game.

Bengaluru are on a fantastic run, going unbeaten in their last five games that include three wins away from home. There hasn’t been a dearth of goals with Sunil Chhetri and Sean Rooney sharing 15 of the club’s 22 goals between them. The times when the duo haven’t turned up, players like John Menyongar, Beikhokhei Beingaichho, John Johnson and Siam Hanghal have played more than just the cameo.

East Bengal, on the other hand, have had a mixed bag since Armando Colaco took over reins at the Kolkata club. The golden-maroon brigade have won two, drawn two and lost the one against Mumbai FC. “BFC are a good team and in some fine form. I don’t know what will unfold but what I can tell you is that it will be a fantastic game to watch,” said Colaco.

The only blip for Westwood would be the absence of central defender Johnson who has been a rock at the back with fellow-defender Curtis Osano. The Englishman picked up his fourth yellow card of the League during the game against Mohammedan Sporting, ruling him out of the big clash. Even East Bengal have an absentee in the same position with Uga Okpara not making the trip to Bangalore while an injured Mehtab Hossain is in Mumbai and is most likely to undergo an operation.