Kolkata: Second placed Bengaluru FC will aim to get back to winning ways when they face NorthEast United at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Guwahati on Friday. Beginning their campaign with two convincing wins over Mumbai City and Delhi Dynamos, ‘The Blues’ however suffered a 3-4 loss to FC Goa depite putting up a tough fight with 10 men after goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was send off.
The red card has however affected them more than just a defeat with coach Albert Roca finding it hard to play a suitable replacement for Gurpreet. While the former Stabæk FC custodian has been banned for two matches, second-choice goalkeeper Abhra Mondal injured his hamstring. Among the two other keepers Lalthuammawia Ralte has just retuned from injury, leaving Calvin Abhishek as the only fit goalkeeper in the squad.
“I have some problems at the back with regard to goalkeepers but these are circumstances that I cannot change,,” admitted Roca. Before adding, “I am confident in my goalkeepers and whoever plays will do his job well.”
While this could have easily been an added advantage for NorthEast United giving them the opportunity to capitalise on BFC’s weakness in goal, coach De Deus does not consider it to be any sort of advantage until Bengaluru come into the matches without any goalkeeper.
“The advantage would be only if Bengaluru FC play without a goalkeeper. But honestly that won’t happen. They will have a goalkeeper,” said De Deus at the pre-match press conference.
“I don’t care about it if it’s Calvin, Ralte, Gurpreet or anyone else, it’s for their coach to decide, not me. I must look at my team. I know for sure that T P (Rehenesh) will be our goalkeeper and they will have one goalkeeper,” he also further added.
Placed sixth on the table, the ‘Highlanders’ nonetheless notched up their first win with a 2-0 victory over Delhi Dynamos and De Deus hoped that it will give then much more confidence of keeping the winning mentality.
“We are better today than 15 days ago when we played Jamshedpur. For 15 days, we worked hard to create our own identity. We are better. I am sure that Bengaluru FC are also better than their first game,” said the Portugese gaffer.
Meanwhile ‘Blues’ captain Sunil Chhetri who married just this Monday returned to training and will feature against NorthEast. Roca who is extremely pleased with the professionalism of the diminutive striker said, “He is married and available for tomorrow. He joined the team here and he is ready. I think he is the most professional player I’ve had in my career.”