Bengaluru, April 21 (IANS) DSK Shivajians will aim to pull off a giant killing act when they take on reigning champions Bengaluru FC in an I-League encounter at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Saturday.
Coming into the game with an away win against title contenders East Bengal, DSK Shivajians will be full of confidence at the prospect of upsetting the champions, a feat they narrowly missed out on earlier in the season.
With both coaches — DSK Shivajians’ Dave Rogers and Albert Roca of Bengaluru FC — focused on making their respective teams imbibe a firm philosophy of short passing, high pressure football, the clash should be an excellent proving ground for both managers on how far they have been successful in their implementation of ideas.
Interestingly, DSK Shivajians and Bengaluru FC are the two teams who lead the league in terms of passing as well as possession statistics.
Bengaluru FC are currently fourth on the league table with 24 points from 16 matches. After winning two I-League titles and missing another one by a whisker, this edition of the I-League must have been a disappointing one for them.
Out of title contention, they are trying to make amends for their poor start to the I-League.
With consecutive wins in their previous two I-League matches complemented by top performance in the AFC Cup group stage, they stand a bright chance of finishing among the top three in the I-League.
DSK Shivajians on the other hand, are seventh with 17 points 16 games. With two other teams — Churchill Brothers and Chennai City FC — also on 17 points, they would definitely like garner crucial points on Saturday and take the sixth spot on the table.
DSK Shivajians goalkeeper and Indian international Subrata Paul was brilliant under the bar during their last match, thwarting several East Bengal attacks. He will definitely like to carry that form into Saturday’s match.
The last time the two sides met, DSK Shivajians had taken a 2-0 lead at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune and had almost pulled off an upset in front of their home crowd before Bengaluru FC scored a late equaliser to spoil their party.
Bengaluru FC have the edge over DSK Shivajians in the head to head records, having beaten the Pune based club once and drawing them twice in their three I-League meetings so far.
However, DSK Shivajians have pulled off a series of impressive performances this season and Dave Rogers is confident that his wards will prove to be a handful for the defending champions on Saturday.
“I think we’ve been the best football team in the country, and it’s only been for late errors that have cost us very late in games. Without those, we’d be sitting in the top three or four at this point of time,” the 41-year-old opined.
“Tomorrow, we’ll try to take the three points, try to play on the front foot and play with confidence,” he added.
“I’ve told the boys to just go and enjoy themselves.”