Faltering Bengaluru FC look to regain momentum vs Minerva Punjab (Preview)

Bengaluru, Feb 10 (IANS) Bengaluru FC will look to falling back on their flawless record at home when Albert Rocas side hosts I-League debutants Minerva Punjab FC at the Kanteerava Stadium here on Saturday.

The defending champions started their title-defence in an emphatic manner, winning three straight games at home without conceding a goal before woeful form on the road saw them pick just a point from three games.

But while things aren’t going to script for Bengaluru at the moment, Roca felt it was a matter of refusing to let heads drop.

“We have to ensure we change that tomorrow as it’s just a question of mentality. Even though the results have been unfavourable, the players will go on to the pitch with a positive mentality and do their best,” Roca said.

In a set-back on the defence side of things, Bengaluru will be without Juanan Gonzalez, who joins John Johnson in serving a two-game suspension as a disciplinary fallout of the game against Churchill Brothers.

However Sandesh Jhingan, who missed the last four games with an injury, is fit for the fixture and Roca was confident of the India international forming a solid partnership at the back with youngster Salam Ranjan Singh.

“They haven’t played together in a game but have been doing well in training and I’m confident they will deliver what is needed from them,” he added.

Minerva are stepping into the game with the confidence that comes from registering their first win in their campaign when they beat Mumbai FC 2-1 in Punjab last weekend.

And while the Blues didn’t have three points to take back in their game against DSK Shivajians on Sunday, they showed tremendous resilience to claw back from a two-goal deficit to finish things at 2-2 when Ranjan nodded home a corner in the 90th minute.

They could have gone on to win the game if it wasn’t for Subrata Pal’s save with his fingertips that saw a Lenny Rodrigues shot smash the post in the final minute of added time.

Skipper Sunil Chhetri, who hadn’t scored in the first three games has now found the back of the net in Bengaluru’s last three games. With a defence that is yet to look completely comfortable, Roca would need his captain to step up and deliver a lot more regularly than he always does.