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

Bengaluru FC face Mohun Bagan test as title race heats up

Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC travel to Kolkata for the final time this season where they take on Mohun Bagan AC in a game of big importance at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Sunday. Salgaocar’s win over Pune FC on Friday meant the team from Goa are a point behind Bengaluru with three games to the season and Ashley Westwood’s team know there’s much at stake.

The teams have met once this season and the game – which was Bengaluru FC’s first ever competitive fixture – ended in 1-1 draw at the Bangalore Football Stadium when the hosts conceded in the last minute after leading through a Sean Rooney goal. The season has come a long way since then and Bengaluru have put on a consistent show, firmly holding on their frequent reference as League leaders.

“It’s going to be a tough game. Mohun Bagan are a big team with tremendous history and we will have to work extra hard to be able to take back anything from Kolkata. The League is seeing some very exciting times. It’s important that we remain consistent as we have been all season,” said Westwood on the eve of the game. Bengaluru trained at the Salt Lake on Saturday morning and going by the humidity in the city, fitness will have an important role to play.

In team news for Bengaluru, central defender Curtis Osano and goalkeeper Pawan Kumar, who missed the home game against Pune FC last week with suspensions, make a return to give Westwood a complete squad to choose from. Mohun Bagan, meanwhile, could have a doubtful starter in defender Aiborlang Khongjee. The hosts will be buoyed by striker Odafa Okolie’s brace in the 1-3 defeat of Sporting Clube de Goa a little less than a fortnight ago. The striker has missed most of the season with an injury and Bagan, currently 9th in the standings, will look to him in their bid to salvage their position on the table.

“There is very little margin for error but there’s no pressure or panic in the camp. We have been training hard and will be keen on exhibiting the standards we have set for ourselves,” said skipper Sunil Chhetri.