Bengaluru FC will look to begin the New Year in exactly the same fashion they ended the last year – with a solid performance and all points, when they take on SC East Bengal at the Athletic Stadium, in Bambolim, on Tuesday. The Blues snapped a seven-game winless streak when they showed great tenacity to beat Chennaiyin FC 4-1 on Thursday, and coach Marco Pezzaiuoli said he would like to see more of the same when the Blues come up against a team that’s yet to register a win this season.
The Red and Gold brigade have four points from eight games and sit bottom of the table, but Pezzaiuoli said that would have no bearing on the kind of challenge he expects his side to come up against.
“Though the points table labels us as favourites, we know better than to take East Bengal lightly. We will have to replicate the same focus and mentality we have shown in our last few games if we are to get all points. I feel East Bengal have been unlucky in a few games, and possess some good players who can effect transitions well. They too are looking to move up the table and Tuesday’s game will not be an easy one for us. We are sure about this, he said, while addressing the media on the eve of the game.
East Bengal had only recently parted ways with coach Jose Manuel Diaz and have replaced him with fellow Spaniard, Mario Rivera, and Pezzaiuoli felt this only added more uncertainty in terms of what Bengaluru could expect on the pitch. “The new coach could bring with him a new philosophy and style and we’re not really sure of what to expect. However, like always, we will be focusing more on what we have to do than the style of football the opponents decide to play with,” he added. Rivera, however, will not be on the touchline as he is under quarantine, leaving interim coach Renedy Singh in charge of things on Tuesday.
The Blues will continue to be without Musavu-King, Leon Augustine, Akashdeep Singh, and Harmanpreet Singh – players who have missed most of the season with long-term injuries. East Bengal, meanwhile, will be without striker Antonio Perošević who is serving a five-game suspension.
Pezzaiuoli’s inspiring changes and fluid tactics in the game against Chennaiyin made the difference on the night and the Bengaluru boss said he was pleased with the way the players who came on adapted to the situation and affected the game. With a host of options for similar positions, it will be interesting to see the line-up that Pezzaiuoli goes with on Tuesday.