Now or Pos­si­bly Never for BFC

The de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons face ta­ble-top­pers East Ben­gal — in a slight slump — in Ben­galuru to­day

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games - Sam Abra­ham

“It was the start of our pain.” Dur­ing the pre-match press con­fer­ence Ben­galuru FC coach Al­bert Roca re­mem­bered the trou­ble they’ve had since their 2-1 loss to East Ben­gal just over a month ago (Jan­uary 22).

BFC were top of the ta­ble with three wins from three, but haven’t won since – two losses and three draws in the league. In con­trast East Ben­gal’s rise to the top be­gan with the turn­around win, hav­ing gone a goal down. They,though,have­hi­taslight­slump–los­ing to Aizawl, and draw­ing the two prior first to Mo­hun Ba­gan and then Shil­long La­jong.

The big talk­ing point is the ab­sence of Wil­lis Plaza through in­jury. He was sub­sti­tuted against Aizawl, groin strain, and will have to sit this one out. Now that could have meant chang­ing up Trevor Mor­gan’s trusted sys­tem of hav­ing two for­wards up front. But he doesn’t think so.

“We’ve got a sys­tem that we’re com­fort­able play­ing with. There’s no need re­ally for us to (change). We tried some­thing in the first half of Aizawl that didn’t re­ally work out (A 4-3-2-1 with Plaza up front ahead of Wed­son Anselme). So we’re go­ing back to the sys­tem that in­cludes two for­wards in it.

“Of course we’ll miss Wil­lis, be­cause he’s dy­namic — he can make things hap­pen. When you have some­one who can make things hap­pen, some­times it makes the game easy for you when the ball goes for­ward. 2.05pm 7.05pm CLUB GAMES 10 9 10 10 9 “Buthe’snot­play­ing­to­mor­rowandwe’ve­got to get over that and just play to the strengths of the other two boys who’re up front. It’s re­ally up to the other play­ers now to get an op­por­tu­nity in the team, to stake a place to be a reg­u­lar now.” Mor­gan’s words shou ld be taken se­ri­ously by Robin Singh. He’s played six games, but hasn’t been as con­sis­tent as Plaza. And while the Trinida­dian is “dy­namic”, Robin would con­sider a phys­i­cal ap­proach his strength. This could mean that the East Ben­gal mid­field will be set up to sit back a lit­tle and get the ‘long balls’ to Robin. Thongkhosiem Haokip, who came on as a sub­sti­tute last match, could get into the start­ing line-up as the sec­ond for­ward. How­ever the one man who could have helped Roca in coun­ter­ing the striker’s strength would be ab­sent. “The game will be eas­ier with­out (Plaza). (But) we also have to suf­fer, in de­fence we don’t have John (John­son) with us,” said Roca. In­ci­den­tally, he was – un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally – at fault for Robin’s goal dur­ing the first meet­ing. To makeit­worse,first-choice­keep­erAm­rinder Singhisal­so­side-lined­with­as­trained­groin. The Span­ish coach’s other big prob­lem has been Ben­galuru’s lack of goals. It’s frus­trat­ing for the team be­cause there’s no lack of

con­trol or chances cre­ated. “We are cre­at­ing chances. We are the team who’s mak­ing more passes, we’re the team mak­ing more of­fen­sive ac­tions. I can­not com­plain all of this. I am com­plain­ing about… the last 40 yards where we have not been ef­fi­cient

enough. We are still work­ing on that. It’s not easy,” added Roca.

BFC have had a num­ber of start­ing eleven’s this sea­son as the coach deals with both in­juries and find­ing the right fit for his pos­ses­sion-based sys­tem.

Ben­galuru FC’s CK Vi­neeth I-LEAGUE (TOP 5) East Ben­gal Mo­hun Ba­gan Aizawl FC Shil­long La­jong Ben­galuru FC

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