I-League: In-form Bengaluru FC wary of Sporting Clube de Goa rebound
Bengaluru: Ashley Westwood believes his team are peaking at the right time as Bengaluru begin the second half of the season when they host a struggling Sporting Clube de Goa at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Tuesday.
With Sporting yet to win a game in the league this season and Bengaluru’s 100% win record over the Goan club, the numbers stack up against the visitors but Westwood refuses to believe so.
“In the I-League, anybody can beat anybody on their day so we have to take them very seriously. We feel strong and are peaking at the right time and now just force the issue and try and put in good performances till the end of the season,” said Westwood at the pre-match press conference, on Monday.
Second in the table and four points behind leaders Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru FC have been coming up with good performances despite juggling AFC commitments but Westwood knows that a slip up can be ill afforded given the fewer number of games in the League this season.
“Every single game is important. We knew that from the start of the season. If there were 15 or 16 teams, we would have a lot more games to play with and be very confident of winning the League. But with only twenty games, people can get lucky if you like but we have to keep believing and putting the pressure on the others,” said the gaffer.
Bengaluru put on a solid show in the away leg where a brace from Sean Rooney and a goal from Beikhokhei Beingaichho gave the Blues a 3-1 win. Sporting, since then, have rung in a couple of changes bringing in striker Odafa Okolie and Syrian Mahmoud Al-Amna to shore up things.
Skipper Anthony Wolfe has been on a little goal scoring spree himself, bagging 4 in the last 4 games and seems to be making the most of Odafa’s arrival. “They’ve got new signing Odafa and Wolfe up front who on their days are capable of scoring goals and changing fortunes so we need to be concentrated to try and get a result,” felt Westwood.
Bengaluru will be without midfielders Siam Hanghal and Shankar Sampingiraj who are away with the India Under-23 team playing the AFC Championship while Sporting too have an absentee in Sandesh Jhingan who is part of the same team.