I-League: Shivajians hosts title hopeful Bengaluru FC

Wins over East Bengal, Sporting Goa and a draw against Shillong Lajong FC has helped DSK Shivajians pick up seven points in its last three games at home.

Bengaluru FC players training at the their home ground in Bengaluru.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

DSK Shivajians FC will be looking to make most of its home advantage when its faces Bengaluru FC in a crucial I-League encounter at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex here tomorrow.

Currently on a five-match unbeaten run, DSK Shivajians has been at its best at Balewadi in recent games.

Wins over East Bengal, Sporting Goa and a draw against Shillong Lajong FC has helped DSK Shivajians pick up seven points in its last three games at home.

Moreover, building on its longest unbeaten run ever, DSK Shivajians has improved in front of the goal, scoring a total of 10 goals in the last six games, eight of which have come at home.

Going into the game, both sides — seventh-placed DSK Shivajians (13 points) and second-placed Bengaluru FC (25 pts) — will be targeting maximum points with the aim of improving their respective positions in the league standings. Moreover, with just four rounds to go, each game is vital as six teams in the table are separated by just two points, thus making the three points on offer even more crucial.

DSK Shivajians coach Derrick Pereira outlined his confidence while speaking at the pre-match press conference and said, “We have another exciting home match now. We will be looking to do well again, especially since it is our second-last home match of the season. We do not have to worry about injuries and cards, which is a positive. Also, we will be going into the match with the same squad that we had for the last couple of games.”

On the team news front, Pereira will have a full squad at his disposal with no major injury concerns.

Opponent Bengaluru FC, which arrived here on the eve of the clash, comes into the game on the back of a narrow 1-0 win over Mumbai FC. The Karnataka-based side will be a tricky opponent as it will be looking for a positive result to topple leader Mohun Bagan (25 points), which has lost back-to-back games.

Interestingly, Bengaluru FC is the only side in the league to boast a better away record than at home. Ashley Westwood-led side has picked up four wins and 13 points in six games while scoring eight times.

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