Roca eyes Jamshedpur clash as possible dress rehearsal

Blues Look To Take Unassailable Lead Atop Table As Odisha Hosts First-Ever ISL Game

Bhubaneshwar, Odisha: They may have booked a spot in the play-off stages of the Indian Super League with relative ease but Albert Roca said his Bengaluru FC side will be on top of their game in what he reckons could be a possible dress rehearsal of the semifinal, when the Blues tale on Jamshedpur FC at the Kalinga Stadium, in Odisha, on Sunday.

With two games to play for, Steve Coppel’s side sit on fourth position in the table and could well be Bengaluru’s opponents in the play-off stages should the things stand as they are on the table. “The fight for qualification among the other teams is a tough one and it is highly possible that we will come up against Jamshedpur again. Sunday gives us a very good chance to weigh and study them once again and I believe the team will make most of the opportunity. Also, the game is a chance for us to take an unassailable lead at the top of the table,” said Roca.

The one-off fixture in Odisha also makes it the first time the state will host an ISL fixture and Roca believes his side will be keen to extend the impressive record away from home that Bengaluru have enjoyed. “We’ve been strong away from home and that has been a positive I would like us to build upon. But we know the kind of fight Jamshedpur will bring on Sunday. We saw how well they defended in Bengaluru, so being focused will be key tomorrow,” he said.

A late Trindade Goncalves penalty saw Jamshedpur beat Bengaluru at the Kanteerava and Roca said that striking a right balance would be paramount to Bengaluru’s efforts against Coppell’s side tomorrow.

“I’ve always stressed on the importance of a balance between our defence and attack and that will be immense against teams like Jamshedpur, who like to keep possession and stay compact at the back. I am sure that Jamshedpur will put on a show and my team will be up to the task tomorrow,” Roca added.

In the fray for the first time is Spanish striker Daniel Segovia, who joined the side earlier this week, having replaced the injured Braulio Nobrega and has made the trip to Odisha. Roca stressed that it was important to have attacking options, with the Blues announcing the departure of winger Edu Garcia to Chinese League One side Zhejiang Lucheng on Friday.

“Segovia joined the team last week and he’s done well to adapt to a system which he is familiar with. The injury to Braulio was unfortunate but he (Segovia) adds a new dimension to our attack. He’s tall, quick and intelligent and someone who strengthens the squad once again ahead of an important part of this campaign,” the Blues’ boss said.

Kick off at the Kalinga Stadium is at 8 pm and the match will be telecast on the Star Sports Network, HotStar and JioTV.

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