ISL: At home, Bengaluru FC eyes a victorious return

After twice faltering at home in surprise fashion, Bengaluru FC will hope for a victorious return to the Sree Kanteerava Stadium when it meets ATK here on Sunday.

Bengaluru FC players during a practice session in Bengaluru on Saturday.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy

After twice faltering at home in surprise fashion, Bengaluru FC will hope for a victorious return to the Sree Kanteerava Stadium when it meets ATK here on Sunday. Albert Roca's men were stunned by Chennaiyin FC and Jamshedpur FC in the space of four days at a venue where they had not tasted defeat in nearly 10 previous months. But last week's win over Kerala Blasters in Kochi will have come as an immense relief.

“We lost those two games going for a win in the last minutes," Roca said here on Saturday. "We took the foreigners out of the back and the result was not too good. We have to learn that sometimes one point is better than zero.”

ATK sits seventh on the table, with only two wins to its name. Scoring goals has been an issue, with the defending champion managing to find the net only six times in seven games. Miku alone has scored eight.

The visitor has recently found some form, however, having claimed seven points from three games after a dire start to the season. Robbie Keane has been on target in the last two matches, but rumours linking the Irish striker with a move to Wolverhampton Wanderers are unlikely to help ATK. “Robbie is the best person to answer that,” was all the assistant coach Bastab Roy would say when queried on the matter.

It has not escaped ATK's attention that Jamshedpur succeeded in Bengaluru after frustrating BFC with its defensive approach. “Let's hope that repeats," smiled Roy. Roca was aware his side had to do a better job of breaking down stubborn opponents. "We not only have to be patient but also shift to a higher gear than we've shown,” he said.

ATK will miss the services of former BFC midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh, who is back home recovering from a knee injury and is unlikely to play any further part this season. The former BFC head coach Ashley Westwood – once a hero in these parts – returns to the city as ATK's Technical Director. “Things have changed since he left; we have a lot of new faces,” noted Roca. “For him, this can be a special game; for me, it is just another game.”

The match kicks off at 8 p.m.

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