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Bengaluru to give reserves a chance
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Bengaluru to give reserves a chance

Jamshedpur, Feb 26 : Bengaluru FC will have a few things to put in place before they face the play-offs in the Hero Indian Super League. The league toppers were the first team to qualify for the play-offs but the form of Carles Cuadrat’s side since the international break has been a concern.

They got their confidence back after a 3-0 win over FC Goa in the previous game and will now seek to finish the league stage on a winning note as they face Jamshedpur FC at the JRD Tata Sports Complex here on Wednesday. Bengaluru FC have won only two of their last six matches. The Blues have faced Jamshedpur three times and both teams have a win each.

Their last meeting ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw in October, with Sergio Cidoncha netting a late equaliser in added time. “We have a lot of people who have stayed back in Bengaluru. We are coming here with a mix of players. We are going to start four players in the starting XI who have played most of the season with the second team (BFC B). Cuadrat, who will be hoping to end Bengaluru’s winless run away from home after three losses and a draw in their last four trips, said three second-team players will also start on the bench.

“We have the privilege because we are for sure going to finish first in the league. We are not fighting for second or third anymore. We have left some players to save them travel and avoid injuries. It’s a chance for us to give the fringe players an opportunity,” said Cuadrat. Jamshedpur have had a season full of mixed results and have played nine draws this season, the highest tally for a club in the league stage in ISL.

After a shocking 1-4 defeat against Pune, they were held by Chennaiyin in their last match, a result that crushed their hopes of qualifying. “Like the top four teams, we did not have a striker scoring consistently but most of our goals were shared between our attackers. The lack of finishing is perhaps why we have had so many draws. Of course, missing out on the top-four is a disappointment,” said coach Cesar Ferrando.

With play-off spot no longer available, Jamshedpur will look to pocket a morale boosting triumph. “It’s the last game in front of our home fans and we want to win it for them. I am delighted with the performance of the team and I wish we can finish the season on a high with a win against Bengaluru,” said the coach. (UNI)