Bengaluru takes on Churchill Brothers in final I-League match

As the I-league draws to a close, both teams will look at the match more as preparation for the upcoming Federation Cup and in BFC's case, the ongoing AFC Cup as well.

Bengaluru FC (BFC) team training at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, ahead of I-League match against Churchill Brothers FC.   -  K. Murali Kumar

In the penultimate game of the I-League season, both Bengaluru FC and Churchill Brothers recorded their biggest wins. The former blanked DSK Shivajians 7-0, while the latter thrashed Chennai City FC 6-1. On Saturday, when the two clash at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, each will hope that the sweetness lingers.

BFC can't finish any higher than the fourth position it currently occupies. Churchill will remain sixth regardless of the result. As the I-league draws to a close, both teams will look at the match more as preparation for the upcoming Federation Cup and in BFC's case, the ongoing AFC Cup as well.

“We have keep working like how we have,” said BFC manager Albert Roca. “They have won 6-1. So they are coming in with a lot of confidence. They would also like to finish on a high.”

Roca would in fact be wary of his opponent. Mid-way through the season, Churchill was staring at relegation and had recorded only one win in its first ten matches. Ever since Derrick Pereira took over, it has seen its fortunes change, winning four matches, drawing two, warding off the drop and sewing up a Federation Cup spot.

“My challenge was to save them from relegation,” said Pereira, who will be leaving Churchill for ISL side FC Goa after the Federation Cup. “The players responded. There is lot of quality. They have done well in the second leg. They stuck together and the results show.”

Incidentally that solitary win in the first half of the season was against BFC. Yet, Roca insisted that his team won't be playing for revenge. “We have to look ahead and there are enough important things to focus on [than the past],” he said.

With the AFC Cup away clash against Abhahani Dhaka next Wednesday, Roca might also make a few changes.

“We know how important the next game in Bangladesh is,” he said. “We have a big squad. Some of the players deserve to play some games. Not just for tactical reasons, but because their commitment is so high, they deserve the opportunity.”