I-League: Bengaluru welcomes newbies Shivajians

BFC has little time to dwell on their defeat against Sporting as it prepares to meet DSK Shivajians at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday.

BFC players practicing at their home ground in Bengaluru   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

In its first two seasons, Bengaluru FC lost only two games at home in the I-League, which is why Saturday's defeat to Sporting Clube de Goa came as a rude shock. BFC has little time to dwell on that result, however, as it prepares to meet DSK Shivajians at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday. To both sides, it is the second of three games in the space of eight days — the calendar has not been kind to anyone.

The BFC head coach Ashley Westwood had been livid with some aspects of Saturday's performance, bemoaning the lack of leaders at the club. “I’m expecting a big response,” he said on Tuesday. “If you give honest criticism, I'm sure they will react in the right way because they are true professionals.”

BFC remains on top of the table (12 points), just ahead of East Bengal (11) and Mohun Bagan (10), which has two games in hand. DSK Shivajians, in its first season in the top tier, has been struggling to get to grips with the I-League. The club sits second from bottom, with four points from five games. It claimed its first victory on Sunday, defeating Mumbai FC, when it scored its first goal of the campaign. “We're still settling as a team; we need to find the right combination quickly,” the veteran coach Derrick Pereira said. “There are many injuries and a lot of players joined us only 10 days before the I-League.” BFC is favourite, but there are no guarantees.

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