Bengaluru FC will look to protect their place at the top of the I-League table when the Blues host Kolkata club Mohammedan Sporting in a Round Four game at the Bangalore Football Stadium, in Bangalore, on Thursday.
Enjoying a three-game unbeaten run, Ashley Westwood’s team will look to make it four at a stadium that is slowly turning into a fortress for Bengaluru FC. Having conceded just the lone goal in three games, the hosts have looked compact at the back and the Mohammedan Sporting attack will have to earn any chance at goal.
Durand Cup winners, Mohammedan haven’t had the best of starts to the league, losing both games played and a partially fit Penn Orji doesn’t help their cause. Bengaluru FC, meanwhile, have a complete squad at their disposal. But Westwood wants his team to tread with caution. “Clubs that you or the fans expect us to beat, we aren’t taking lightly. Those are the most dangerous games. They haven’t had the best start to the league but they have their reasons for it,” said Westwood.
Even midfielder Darren Caldeira admitted that Mohammedan had some quality players on their team but Bengaluru FC would stick to the tactics drawn out by the gaffer. “We’re taking each game as it comes. They have some good players in Penn and Tolgey but we’re going to play to a plan,” he said.
Mohammedan coach Bola Masood lamented the injuries that have plagued his squad going into the I-League. “We’ve been struggling with injuries. Even Penn isn’t a 100% fit but we will be starting with him tomorrow,” said Masood. “We come to every game wishing for three points. If we walk away with even one against Bengaluru, I’ll take it happily.”
Bengaluru have looked dangerous with set pieces and though Mohammedan are wary of the fact, Masood feels it’s a situation his team have dealt with well in the Durand Cup. “We’ve done well against teams who specialize in dead ball situations and Thursday should be no different.”
The game kicks off at 4 pm.