Tough test for unbeaten Bengaluru FC
Bangalore, Oct 22 (IANS) I-League debutants Bengaluru FC, unbeaten in four matches, face a tough test here on Wednesday when they take on former champions Dempo SC in a clash that promises some high octane action.
The Goan visitors have had a dismal start to their season that saw them lose 0-3 to Shillong Lajong in their opening game, followed by three draws before defeating East Bengal 3-1 for their first win that reflected signs of a team coming together under a new coach.
In contrast, Bengaluru have had a dream start and they are unbeaten in all their four games thus far after opening their campaign with a 1-1 draw with Mohun Bagan followed by three consecutive wins to tie with Salgaocar on points, but second on goal difference in the standings.
Three-time champions Dempo, coached by Aussie Arthur Papastamatis, will be going into the game high on confidence following their away win over a strong East Bengal last week and will naturally look to ride on the momentum against the Ashley Westwood-trained side.
Dempo should have been better placed than their current seventh in the standings as they blew a 2-0 first-half lead against a revamped and newly promoted Rangdajaied United, who were thrashed 3-0 by Bengaluru. Rangdajaied eventually scrambled to 2-2 draw as the Dempo defence bungled in the second-half.
Against East Bengal, the Golden Eagles showed composure and character as their Brazilian striker Roberto Mendes da Silva scored a brace, including a penalty, after a Clifford Miranda strike in the third minute. Dempo thus sent out a strong warning to their competitors and something that Bengaluru would do well to heed.
For Bengaluru, defender John Johnson and striker Sean Rooney have been the central figures as both figured prominently in the four games so far, all at home. The team has improved with each outing and as Westwood said, it is a matter of players settling down to their roles and developing understanding.
If anything, Bengaluru would need to maintain their attacking flair as Dempo are a far better team than the results have portrayed and the win in Kolkata suggested that the Goans are on their way up.