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

Bengaluru FC wary of slip-ups, Mumbai City in vital away fixture

Bengaluru FC players in a training session at the Bangalore Football Stadium (Photo courtesy: Bengaluru FC)

Albert Roca said his side will need to dust off the disappointment of a defeat last weekend and switch focus to what he expects to be yet another tough outing when Bengaluru FC take on Mumbai City FC at the Mumbai Football Arena, on Thursday.

Second on the table after ten rounds, the Blues were bereft of ideas and evidently off-colour against Delhi Dynamos in a 2-0 loss, but the Spaniard believes the set-back had lessons that the side will do well to learn from. “We got more than just a few things wrong and the beauty of football is that we get another chance in less than 4 days to make amends. Mumbai are a side that are knocking on the door for a place in the top-four and as if that was not motivation enough, they will be playing at home. We have a very tough job on our hands and we need to turn up,” said Roca.

The two sides met in Round One of the season where goals from Edu Garcia and Sunil Chhetri gave Bengaluru a 2-0 win at the Kanteerava. Roca’s men have had a bit of a see-saw run since that win but have done enough spend time on pole position or lurk thereabouts.

However, with only eight games left to play for in the league stages, Roca says the team cannot afford careless slip-ups. “We have to tread with caution but we will not be compromising on our philosophy in the bargain. There’s a balance we need to find and I’m hoping that Thursday’s game is one in which we display that attribute.”

Mumbai City, sitting sixth on the table with 14 points, can creep up to one point behind Bengaluru should they get the job done at home and Alexandre Guimaraes will eye the chance given the sole point his side have managed to get from the last two games.

Striker Balwant Singh, who sat out of the reverse fixture with an injury, has been in good scoring form since his return, netting five times to lead Mumbai’s scoring list. Bengaluru meanwhile, will turn to Miku (8 goals) and Chhetri (5 goals) to combine like they have been through the campaign this far. The Blues will also welcome the return of Udanta Singh who was an unused substitute against Delhi owing to a sore ankle that has now healed. However, Bengaluru will be without left-back Subhasish Bose who was sent off in Delhi. Roca has the option of Nishu Kumar or could even deploy local lad Rahul Bheke on the left with John Johnson and Juanan Gonzalez starting in the centre of defence.

With an eye on a hectic calendar that sees the Blues play four games in the next fourteen days, Roca had opted to rest a few names last Sunday and whether he persists with rotating the squad is call the Spaniard said he hasn’t yet taken. “I leave these decisions late. The fixtures are coming in thick and fast and I have to juggle the squad. Some days the changes work, some days they don’t. But that’s football.”

The game kicks off at 8 pm.

(Bengaluru FC)