Bengaluru FC will hope that the 2-1 defeat to Hyderabad FC last Friday is just a minor blip as it takes on bottom-placed NorthEast United FC in the Indian Super League (ISL 201-22) clash at the Fatorda Stadium on Friday.
The defeat to Hyderabad was BFC’s first in ten matches, leaving Marco Pezzaiuoli’s men in a dog-fight for a semifinal spot. The side is sixth in the table on 23 points, and with just four matches left, it can ill-afford another reverse.
“We can’t influence other teams’ points, we can only focus on ourselves,” said Pezzaiuoli, on the eve of the match. “We also need to be more focused than we were in the first half against Hyderabad FC.”
However, BFC will miss a crucial player in left-back Roshan Naorem because of a suspension. The 23-year-old has six assists to his name this season and his set-piece delivery has been exemplary. Ashique Kuruniyan is still recovering from an injury and midfielder Jayesh Rane is unavailable too.
Khalid Jamil’s NorthEast, meanwhile, has very little to play for. The outfit hasn’t tasted victory for 10 games now, a run that has included seven defeats. With just 10 points from 17 matches, the only way his side can go is up.
“Everybody [has] worked hard but we didn’t get the result for many reasons,” insisted Jamil. “Still, we have three matches, so we must believe that there will be a better result.”
The coach will hope that his January signings, Brazilian Marcelinho, winger Marco Sahanek and defender Zakaria Diallo click and dispel the gloom at least partly.