Bengaluru FC will look for a quick turnaround following its first defeat of the season, against ATK Mohun Bagan, when it meets Jamshedpur FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Monday.
Coach Carles Cuadrat termed the defeat “narrow” and of “small margins” which was ultimately decided by a stunning long-ranger from forward David Williams. Against Jamshedpur, BFC will need to negate the threat of another top frontman in Nerijus Valskis, last season’s golden boot winner, who has scored six of Jamshedpur’s nine goals this edition.
“We have been able to stop brilliant strikers before,” Cuadrat insisted on match-eve. “Ferran Corominas and Bartholomew Ogbeche only scored from penalties against us. We maintain a high line but it is part of the plan. We get a lot of offsides.”
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“Valskis could not score against us last season (when at Chennaiyin FC) and we will try to do the same things. We had the best defence last season, conceding the least goals and keeping the most clean sheets. There have been changes at the back this campaign and it takes time for players to understand the patterns,” the Catalan added.
One of those who helped Cuadrat and BFC maintain the water-tight defensive organisation previously, Ashique Kuruniyan, looks set for a lengthy lay-off after undergoing a surgery to mend the multiple fractures he sustained to his face in the game against Odisha FC. Cuadrat said Kuruniyan had gone back to Kerala to be with his family and no date was set for his return.
Even at full strength, BFC would have been wary of Jamshedpur. Owen Coyle’s attack-minded side is currently sixth in the table, three below BFC, but has only two points fewer, though it has played a game more.
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It was unlucky not to come away with points against FC Goa in the previous match when the referee disallowed a goal at 1-1 despite replays showing that the ball had crossed line after coming off the underside of the bar. In Aitor Monroy, Jamshedpur has a first-rate creator, the ideal foil for goal-machine Valskis.
“We are capable of winning against the best,” said Coyle. “But we need to be at our best against a very good BFC team. They have a terrific coach and very good players. Very hard working and organised team. We are looking forward to playing against the best teams and best players.”