Eyeing ISL semis, Jamshedpur face Bengaluru (Preview)

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 24 (IANS) Debutants Jamshedpur FC will hope to take a big step towards the semi-finals of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) when they face top-placed Bengaluru FC at the Kalinga Stadium here 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.

A win for the Jharkhand side will 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.

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“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.

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,” Roca said.

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“We must also remember that we play the AFC Cup games in between the playoffs so we can’t take any game easy.”

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 hosts have managed to keep the most clean sheets in the ISL.

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–IANS

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