I-League: Bengaluru FC face off against Shillong Lajong as title-race enters home stretch
Bengaluru FC keen to stretch unbeaten run in the I-League, while the hosts Shillong Lajong will be looking to do well without striker Glen Cornell.
Shillong: Ashley Westwood said Bengaluru FC’s chase to the I-League title was in their own hands as the Blues ready to take on Shillong Lajong at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Shillong, on Friday.
With four games to the end of the season and only a point separating Bengaluru and leaders Mohun Bagan, a win in every game starting tomorrow will mean Westwood’s boys keep the trophy they won on debut last season, in Bengaluru.
But despite being in the middle of a fantastic 10-game undefeated run in all competitions, Westwood said his team would take nothing for granted against an opponent who has always made for tough competition whenever the teams have met.
“We’ve only got four games left so every one of them is important. We are on the luxury that if we do win all our games we will win the League. So, the title is in our own hands as it is in Mohun Bagan’s because we play each other and if they win all their matches they’ll win the league. That’s where the title swung a little bit. Now we’re in control and it’s down to ourselves,” said Westwood while addressing the press on Thursday.
Back after booking a place in the last-16 of the AFC Cup with a win away to Maldivian club Maziya S&RC, Bengaluru put on a prolific performance to heavily dent East Bengal’s title aspirations with a 3-0 win at the Kanteerava Stadium.
The win was also Bengaluru’s third straight clean sheet in the League – an endorsement enough of a stingy defence that has been tough to get past. Bagan meanwhile, suffered a 1-0 loss to tenth placed Bharat FC on Tuesday to fritter away an advantage.
Sitting at eighth in the table, Lajong too come into Friday’s fixture on the back of a confidence-inducing 3-0 win over Dempo and will look to build on the result knowing three points will catapult them to 6th position. However, the hosts have a big void in attack with club top-scorer Cornell Glenn missing the game with a suspension and will look to Uilliams Souza Silva to fire.
Bengaluru, meanwhile, have traveled with a completely fit and available squad to choose from. Both Sean Rooney and Sunil Chhetri who had been substituted during the game against East Bengal with a knock and cramps respectively trained this morning and are completely fit for selection. The game kicks off at 4.30 pm and will be telecast live on Ten Action.