Johnson, Juanan, Khabra Out Of Fixture; Blues Keen To End League Stage On A High
Bengaluru: It’s about momentum for Bengaluru FC and possibly everything for Kerala Blasters as the two sides ready for a face-off in a completely sold-out fixture at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Thursday. On an unbeaten run of eleven games across all competitions, Alberto Roca’s love for patterns will see the Spaniard push his side to end the League stages on a winning note.
“We’ve known for a while now that we’re through to the semifinal, but that hasn’t stopped us from putting on a show, which I’m very happy about. We’ll be going out there wanting the victory, and I’m sure that Kerala Blasters will bring the fight to us with what is at stake for them, which makes for a very interesting game of football,” Roca said.
The scenario for Blasters to makes the play-off stages is rather tricky and their campaign could end even before kick-off on Thursday should FC Goa beat ATK in Wednesday’s 8 pm kick-off. Kerala need Goa to drop points and should Sergio Lobera’s side draw with Ashley Westwood’s men, the Blasters will have a lifeline if they put it past Bengaluru.
The Blues came away with a 3-1 victory in the reverse fixture, played on New Year’s Eve, as a late brace from Miku after a Sunil Chhetri opener handed Bengaluru three points at the Nehru Stadium and the Blues’ boss said that a lot has changed since that clash.
“The new coach has brought with him a philosophy that has seen this side perform a lot better and we know what they’re capable of. It’s no doubt that my players will have to be at their best to get a result tomorrow,” Roca said.
The Blues will be missing the services of defenders Juanan and John Johnson, who picked up their fourth yellow cards of the League campaign against Jamshedpur, and Harmanjot Khabra who continues to recover from a rib injury suffered in an AFC Cup qualifier against TC Sports Club. Kerala Blasters, meanwhile, will be without top-scorer Iain Hume, who is out for the season with a knee injury.