BFC start odds-on favourites against East Bengal

Bangalore, Dec 14: I-League leaders Bengaluru FC (BFC) host East Bengal at the Bangalore Football Stadium here Sunday in what is shaping up to be a humdinger of a duel if the pre-game buzz is anything to go by.

The home team seeks to avenge their 0-2 away defeat to the Kolkata giants earlier this season.

A completely sold out stadium and a pre-match press conference that lasted longer than usual are only feelers of the battle that will unfold on field.

Though the odds seem to favour the hosts this time around, BFC coach Ashley Westwood opted to play down the hype as he stressed on the importance of being consistent.

“We know we are the in-form side, but all we need to do is doing exactly what we have been. If you have to be winners, you need to be consistent,” said Westwood here Saturday.

Bengaluru are on a run, going unbeaten in their last five games, including three away wins with Sunil Chhetri and Sean Rooney sharing 15 of the club’s 22 goals between them.

Showcasing the depth in talent, Bengaluru have also found heroes in John Menyongar, Beikhokhei Beingaichho, John Johnson and Siam Hanghal who have played more than just cameo roles.

East Bengal, on the other hand, have had a mixed bag since Armando Colaco took over the reins at the Kolkata club. The golden-maroon brigade have won two, drawn two and lost one match to Mumbai FC.

“BFC are a good team and in some fine form. I don’t know what will unfold on Sunday, but what I can tell you is that it will be a fantastic game to watch,” said Colaco.

The only blip for Westwood would be the absence of central defender Johnson who has been a rock at the back with fellow-defender Curtis Osano.

The Englishman picked up his fourth yellow card of the League during the game against Mohammedan Sporting, ruling him out of the big clash.

Even East Bengal have an absentee in the same position with Uga Okpara not making the trip to Bangalore while an injured Mehtab Hossain is in Mumbai and most likely will undergo an operation.

IANS