Unbeaten Bengaluru FC wary of Shillong Lajong challenge
Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood expects tough game against Shillong Lajong as the Blues look to get a step closer to the semifinals.
Vasco, Goa: Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood said his side will have to be at their best if the Blues are to take anything away from their third Group B game of the Federation Cup against Shillong Lajong. A win against Lajong at the Tilak Maidan on Friday will take Bengaluru a step closer to coming out of the group stages and Westwood isn’t making much of the fact that their opponents haven’t won in two games.
“We’ve been fortunate to watch Lajong the two times they have played in this cup. Although they didn’t get the result they would have liked, they could have won both games. They are a dangerous side with youth and energy, the kind who keep pushing till the final minute. We will have to be at our best to get something out of the game,” said Westwood on the eve of the game.
Bengaluru began their Fed Cup journey with a 3-2 win over Salgaocar before playing out a goalless draw with Mohun Bagan 48 hours later but have had a two-day gap to recuperate before Friday’s game. The positives have been plenty for the Blues who put in two high-intensity performances that spoke much of their fitness. There also seems a level of assuredness that Westwood’s boys have added to their game this season.
The new signings too seem to have blended effortlessly in the Blues’ plans. Josh Walker has been immense in the midfield as has Eugeneson Lyngdoh. Goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte, formerly with Lajong, turned up with a solid show against Bagan, keeping out attacks without fuss.
Lajong, who have traveled to the tournament without any of their foreign players, went down 3-1 to Pune FC in their opener before suffering a 2-1 defeat to Salgaocar. Bengaluru FC have played Lajong twice in the League last season. While the Blues won the home tie 2-1, the away trip was one to forget where they finished the 0-3 loss with nine men after Curtis Osano and ’keeper Pawan Kumar were sent off in the last ten minutes.
Skipper Sunil Chhetri, who scored a brace in the win at the Bangalore Football Stadium, felt the team was shaping up well. “We were dominant in our game against Salgaocar and showed a lot of character in our game against Bagan. We’ve been doing things correctly and the boys are keen to keep the momentum going,” he said. The game kicks off at 4 pm.