The hosts need a win to keep their quest for a top four place on course.
Having crawled their way into the top four places after a slow start to life in the Hero Indian Super League, Jamshedpur FC has a chance to take another giant leap when they take on league leaders Bengaluru FC at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, on Sunday.
With just two games left for them to play, a win over Bengaluru FC may not lock the spot for Jamshedpur FC in the playoffs as yet, but it will give them some respite approaching the final game and put pressure on the chasing pack of Kerala Blasters and FC Goa, both of whom will be keeping a keen eye on game.
Even though recognizing the importance of the game at hand, Jamshedpur head coach Steve Coppell, however, feels it’s not a “do or die” situation for his team.
“We have been in that situation for the last five games where people have said it is, and we have done fairly well in such situations. So, we are looking forward to the game and relishing the challenge,” he said at the pre-match press conference.
Steve Coppell’s men have been in red-hot form in recent weeks picking up 10 out of possible 12 points in their last four games in the ISL. Commenting on their good form Coppell said, “In the first half of the season, we had a lot of draws and in the last 5-6 games, we have managed to convert those draw into wins.”
Even though Bengaluru FC have already sealed a spot in the playoffs, their coach Albert Roca believes his team needs to keep up the winning momentum going into the playoffs.
“We have to put in a strong performance in the final two games in the league because that will help us be ready for the playoffs. We must also remember that we play the AFC Cup games in between the playoffs so we can’t take any game easy,” the Spanish tactician said at the press conference.
Having gone down to Jamshedpur FC at home in the reverse fixture between the two sides, the Blues will also be looking to take the game as a chance to redeem themselves.
Speaking about his opponents for Sunday’s clash, Roca added, “Jamshedpur FC know that they need a good result tomorrow to seal their play-off berth. So, we are expecting a good and tough game.”
There is a huge contrast between how Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC play their football. While Bengaluru have the best attack, having notched up 31 goals, the host have managed to keep the most clean sheets in the ISL. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top when they go head-to-head on Sunday.
HEAD TO HEAD
Jamshedpur FC 1 – 0 Bengaluru FC (0 Draws)
Trindade Goncalves (Jamshedpur FC)
The Brazilian has been the midfield engine for his team. A tireless player, Goncalves is the initiator of countless attacks and counter-attacks while also ensuring he tracks back and performs his defensive duties to a tee. The 21-year-old loves surging forward into the box and has four goals to his name already, making him an important player for Jamshedpur when they come up against Bengaluru’s imposing defence.
Erik Paartalu (Bengaluru FC)
The Australian has anchored the Blues’ midfield to good effect with his towering presence. His powerful runs down the middle has helped Bengaluru launch countless attacks while he uses his strength well to hold off opposition attacks. A massive target at set-plays, Paartalu has three goals as well as two assists to his name so far and will be looking to make his presence felt against Jamshedpur.
POTENTIAL STARTING LINEUP
Albert Roca will probably go for a 4-1-4-1 formation, which relies heavily on their midfield and flanks for proper service to the striker.
Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Bengaluru head coach on his team’s approach for the remaining games: “For me, it is always to get better and better. Every game is different, we have to pay attention and be in good shape. We have to now try to get better in the next two games because now we’re in the play-off and we just have to be prepared for the difficult moment. Now it’s time to try to be even better just to be ready and try to have more options.”
Steve Coppell may use a 4-2-3-1 formation that provides enough options in the middle and the flanks.
Goalkeeper: Subrata Paul
Forward: Ashim Biswas
Jamshedpur head coach on the strategy his team would apply henceforth: “We don’t change strategies – we play the way we play. We aren’t going to change anything. We try to defend when we don’t have the ball and attack as much as we can with it. At this stage of the season, many times it’s not about how you play, but just about the results.”
- Bengaluru have scored the most number of goals this season (31), while Jamshedpur have conceded the least (13)