ISL: Bengaluru challenge for Jamshedpur in quest for play-off spot

With just two games left to play in the league stage, a win over Bengaluru FC may not lock the spot for Jamshedpur FC in the play-offs as yet, but it will give it some respite approaching the final game.

Even though Bengaluru FC has already sealed a spot in the play-offs, its coach Albert Roca believes his team needs to keep up the winning momentum going.   -  ISL

The visitor is already perched in the play-off zone while the host is still “clawing” it way up the rungs of the Indian Super League (ISL) standings. As the tournament makes its debut in Odisha, thanks to an initiative from Tata Steel, Jamshedpur FC will be looking to make the most of its new home when it takes on the current league leader Bengaluru FC at the Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday.

Having reached the business end of the tournament, Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell pondered on the flourish his team has shown in the last four matches, picking up 10 out of the possible 12 points. With 26 points from 16 matches, Jamshedpur FC is currently placed four, while Bengaluru FC is firmly on top with 34 points from 16 outings.

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“We have clawed our way to the top four positions, where we would obviously like to stay now. We have been in a situation in the last four or five games people have been saying it is a ‘do or die’ match. We have done reasonably well in such situations.  So, we are looking forward to our next match and relishing the challenge," Coppell said at the pre-match press conference.

The match is likely to be a good contest considering the contrasting playing styles of the two opponents. Bengaluru FC has come up as the best attacking side scoring 31 goals, which is the highest tally by any team in the league so far. On the other hand, Jamshedpur FC has managed most clean sheets in the tournament, making it one of the best defensive units.

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Even though Bengaluru FC has already ascertained a place in the playoffs, its Spanish coach Albert Roca stressed on fielding the best eleven looking to pick up a point that would secure it the top spot. “We are looking to give our best in the final two games in the league because that will help us be ready for the playoffs. We must also remember that we play the AFC Cup games in between the playoffs so we have to be in the best of form,” Roca said.

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