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

Ashley Westwood: Game against East Bengal is a quarterfinal for us

Bengaluru FC training session

Bengaluru FC training session

Bengaluru FC take on East Bengal in what promises to be nothing short of an electric clash in a final group stage game of the Federation Cup to be played at the MDSC Stadium, in Manjeri, Kerala, on Tuesday.

Bengaluru FC’s 1-1 draw with Rangdajied United following Sporting Clube de Goa’s 2-1 defeat of East Bengal on Saturday threw Group B wide open and any of the four teams could seal a semifinal berth tomorrow. Ashley Westwood’s boys lead the table with 4 points while Sporting Clube sit second with three. Rangdajied’s two draws leave them on 2 points while East Bengal, with 1 point, could still be in the reckoning.

But while the permutations, combinations and number crunching could go on, the Blues know that a win against East Bengal would deem all calculations redundant. “It’s a game we are looking forward to. We’ve had a good start to the tournament and are on top of the table with a win and a draw. But the way the tournament has unfolded, everyone needs a win in the last round to ensure qualification. It is going to be a good game to participate in and for us, it is a quarterfinal in theory,” said Westwood on the eve of the big game.

The clubs have played each other twice in the League with East Bengal coming out trumps both times and Armando Colaco’s boys will surely look back on those results as a confidence booster for Tuesday’s big fixture. The Kolkata club were left to rue a bunch of missed chances in the loss against Sporting but with the lifeline handed after the Bengaluru-Rangdajied draw, would look to up their finishing.

Westwood, however, hopes his team can come up with a good performance like they have most times this season. “We are well aware of East Bengal’s capabilities as we have played them twice this season. It will be a very entertaining game and hopefully, the lads can reproduce the performance levels that they have show through the season this far,” said Westwood. The game kicks off at 19.30 IST.