I-League Qualifiers: Winless Garhwal takes on Bhawanipore, Bengaluru United faces ARA

Garhwal FC will continue its quest for a first win in the I-League Qualifiers when it takes on Bhawanipore FC, while Bengaluru United faces a determined ARA FC.

Bhawanipore FC

Bhawanipore will look to pick up its second win on the trot, having beaten Bengaluru United 2-0 in its opening game   -  AIFF MEDIA

Garhwal FC will look to claim its first win if the I-League Qualifiers when it takes on Bhawanipore FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday.

The New Delhi-based side is currently at the bottom of the table, having lost its opening two matches against Mohammedan SC and FC Bengaluru United.

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“Tomorrow’s game is very important for us. We know Bhawanipore is a very strong side. We may not have any points on the table so far now but we are working really hard to get these six points (from the remaining two games),” Garhwal head coach Vikas Rawat said on the eve of the match.

He added that his side has worked on its finishing, and is eager to open its account in its third match of the tournament. “We have worked a lot on our finishing. We saw the loopholes in the team from the past two games and have worked on them in training,” said Rawat.

Bhawanipore will look to pick up its second win on the trot, having beaten Bengaluru United 2-0 in its opening game.

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Talking about the upcoming fixture, Bhawanipore head coach Sankarlal Chakraborty noted that Garhwal had the fittest players in the competition.

“Garhwal are the fittest team in the tournament. I’ve seen both their matches. They may have lost both of them, but they created a lot of chances. Had they converted those, the table might have looked very different today,” said Sankarlal.

“Having lost their first two matches, they have nothing to lose right now. And that is a dangerous mentality to play against. We are over-cautious against them,” he added.

- Bengaluru aims to maintain momentum -

Bengaluru United will look to carry momentum from its previous win when it faces ARA FC at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in the day's second kick-off.

The Richard Hood-led side lost its opening game to Bhawanipore, but bounced back to earn a 1-0 win over Garhwal.

“We picked ourselves up after sacrificing all the points one could in our first game. But it’s all behind us now. Every single Bengaluru United player and staff knows that we cannot afford to drop any more points. We understand the levels of performance and character that will be needed to see through our last two games in this tournament,” Hood said.

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“Our momentum will be built on the lessons that we have learnt and insights gathered in the 180 minutes of football that we have fought out so far. Two very distinct games as far as our performance and intent were concerned and we remain committed to the same levels of energy and unity that we have said so far,” he added.


ARA FC players train on the eve of their clash against Bengaluru United.   -  AIFF MEDIA


Meanwhile, ARA FC, which was the first outstation team to arrive in Kolkata ahead of the I-League Qualifiers, believes the 4-1 defeat it suffered against Mohammedan SC served as a “wakeup call”.

“It was a huge loss, definitely a wake-up call to push ourselves to the limit. First of all, we want players to forget about the last match and make them believe in themselves,” said ARA head coach Vivek Nagul. “Right now, motivation might work better than training for the lads.”

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Nagul remains optimistic of his side's chances of getting back in the race for the sole I-League spot.

“It’s a short four-match format. So we can expect every team to come out with their best XI for every match. We expect the same from Bengaluru. They must be high on morale after the way they bounced back from a defeat in the last game,” said Nagul. “But we have to bounce back ourselves and get the three points if we have to get back in the promotion race,” he added.

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