Bengaluru FC take on Mohun Bagan AC on Friday at the Barabati Stadium knowing a win would give the Blues the best chance to make it to the semifinal of the Federation Cup from a group that’s riddled with possibilities for all teams involved, with a last round of games left to play.
With the DSK-Lajong game kicking off at 4 pm, the Blues will know exactly what they need to do against Bagan later in the evening. But Albert Roca has asked his side to turn a blind eye to all combinations of results and mathematics and instead focus on three points against the Kolkata side who lead the Group B standings having all but made the cut to the last four with two wins in as many games. “We find ourselves in a situation where our backs are against the wall and while our progress could be determined by the other result in the group, we need to train all our thoughts on getting the win against Bagan,” said Roca on the eve of the game.
Bengaluru’s 2-0 defeat to DSK means the Pune side joins the Blues on second position with three points while Lajong, with two losses, are bottom of the pile. The head-to-head record will determine who makes it out of the group should there be two teams with same points. In the event of three teams finishing with the same points, goal difference serve as the deciding factor.
In what is a bit of a set-back, Bengaluru will be without midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh who sits out of the fixture with two bookings in as many games. But Roca sounded confident of the quality his side possessed. “We have enough ability on this team to find us results when we need them the most. Every player in every position will have to step up if we are to stay alive in the competition. We know we are up against a very strong team in Bagan and nothing short of our best will do,” said Roca.
Having put a dominant show for most parts of both group stage games, Bengaluru will have to be wary of the lapses in focus that saw them concede rather needless goals. “We’ve seen what happens when we let our guard down for even a bit. We got away with it in the first game but were punished in the second. We are a side that loves to attack always and that can leave us a little vulnerable on the counter if we aren’t focused enough. Let’s hope we can fix this in a game where mistakes can end our tournament,” said Roca.
The match kicks off at 19.00 IST and will be telecast live on Ten 2.