Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC side will look to make it five wins on the spin when they take on an in-form DSK Shivajians at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Saturday.
The Blues are in the middle of an impressive run of form that has seen them go four games straight without conceding a goal as they moved up to fourth on the I-League table and continue to lead Group E in the AFC Cup.
The Spaniard called on his side to ensure the focus doesn’t waver and maintained that Bengaluru will have to be at their best with the Federation Cup less than a month away.
“The boys have been turning up with some very good performances and we’re looking to end the season well. More importantly, a good show and result tomorrow will play a big part in setting us up for the Fed Cup where a slot in the AFC Cup is at stake for the winner,” said Roca while addressing the press on the eve of the game.
In what is a definite blow to Bengaluru given that he was slowly beginning to dig his heels in, Serbian striker Marjan Jugovic is likely to be ruled out for the rest of the season with an injured knee. “He picked up the injury in training on Thursday and from the looks of it, he will miss the rest of the season. There are still a few medical reports coming in,” said Roca of the striker who scored the winner against Aizawl and followed it up with a goal against Abahani Limited Dhaka in the AFC Cup on Tuesday.
The Blues will miss a second foreign player in defender Juanan Gonzalez who sits out with a suspension. However, Sandesh Jhingan makes a return to the team from an injury and will, in all likelihood, team up with John Johnson, Salam Ranjan and Nishu Kumar at the back. Udanta Singh, who trained with the team, looks likely to make a comeback but CK Vineeth, with an injured groin, is a major doubt for the clash.
A brace from Holicharan Narzary was canceled out by goals from Sunil Chhetri and Salam Ranjan Singh when the two sides shared the spoils at the Balewadi Stadium earlier this year and Roca maintains that the result is one the boys will look back at prior to the game. “We fought hard in the last twenty minutes to steal a point and the boys know what they are in for when it comes to DSK. Like I mentioned, the idea is to keep this winning momentum going.”
Meanwhile, DSK are buoyed by the return of former Bengaluru FC striker Kim Song Yong, who missed the last eight games for his new club with injury and the Blues’ defence will have to be on top of their game knowing the aerial threat the North Korean No.9 poses. The Dave Rogers-coached side will however be without Sumeet Passi and Seityasen Singh who haven’t traveled to Bengaluru.
“Tomorrow, we’ll try to take the three points, try to play on the front foot and play with confidence. I’ve told the boys to just go and enjoy themselves.” opined Dave Rogers.
The Match is to be played on the 22nd of April at 7 PM at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru and will be telecast LIVE on Ten 2.