36th Federation Cup: Bengaluru FC to face Pune FC
Topping a group that's narrowed down to a three-horse race for a place in the semifinal of the 36th Federation Cup, Bengaluru FC know that draw should get them out of the league stages when they face Pune FC at the Tilak Maidan on Monday afternoon.
Salgaocar FC knocking out Mohun Bagan with a 4-1 defeat on Sunday leaves the Goa club with Bengaluru FC and Pune FC in the fray to make it out of Group B. As it stands, Bengaluru FC are on 7 points from 3 games followed by Salgaocar FC who have 6 points from as many games. Pune FC have 4 points but are yet to play Salgaocar FC after their Monday kick-off against the Blues.
We have been playing well and have been in good form: Westwood
"We go into tomorrow's game knowing what we need to do with regards to the result we need to put us through to the next round. We have been playing well and have been in good form and there's no reason why it shouldn't continue tomorrow," said Ashley Westwood on the eve of the game.
Bengaluru FC have gone two games without conceding a goal and Westwood has often been vocal in his delight at a clean sheet. John Johnson and Curtis Osano have been solid as anchors in the defence. The strikers have been among the goals and the performances over the three games the Blues have given so far in the tournament have been compact and impressive.
Pune FC, like Bengaluru FC, started the tournament with a win and a draw and Westwood believes the game will be interesting. "We face Pune who are coming on the back of a couple of good results themselves. It's nice that their coach recognises us as a strong outfit, saying we've been together for a very long time. But the last I looked, we were a brand new football club formed in the July of 2013. So, we are very much in our early days," added Westwood.
Bengaluru FC have played Pune FC twice and are yet to beat the team from Maharashtra (a loss and a draw) and Westwood is more than happy to don the tag of underdogs. "We are well aware of Pune's strengths and their objective of trying to win the I-League this season. Looking at previous results, we are underdogs. Let's hope for a good game tomorrow and see if they are one of the genuine contenders," concurred Westwood.