Bengaluru: A result other than a win for Bengaluru FC will be a huge surprise as the hosts and defending champions take on debutants Bharat FC of Pune in an I-League game here Sunday.
The Blues, in quest of their first home win this season, have had an up-and-down tournament thus far besides a huge amount of travel in the past fortnight which has given their players little or no time to recover.
BFC began their campaign with a tame goalless draw with Dempo on the opening day of the Hero I-League last month and a week later, the Blues went through a hectic schedule of four games in a matter of 11 days.
After hosting Pune FC in a 1-2 loss, BFC flew to Kolkata where they went down 0-1 to East Bengal before jetting off to Guwahati to play Royal Wahingdoh whom they beat 4-0 for their first win of the tournament.
From Guwahati, Bengaluru rushed to Johor, Malaysia, for the AFC Champions League playoff game that they lost 1-2 to local champions Johor Darul Ta'zim in extra-time before returning home Thursday for Sunday's game against Bharat FC.
The punishing schedule notwithstanding, Ashley Westwood's Blues have everything going for them as the team seems to have found its groove. The big win in Shillong and a fighting display in Johor point to the team in good heart.
In contrast, Bharat FC, also trained by an Englishman Stuart Watkiss, travel to Bengaluru after a 11-day break following their two home games.
They drew goalless with Dempo on debut, a no small feat, but played more gracious hosts to Wahingdoh while losing 1-2.
Thus, it stands to reason that the Blues would be much sharper and match fit than their Pune opponents who boast of a strong foreign trio in striker Kris Bright (New Zealand), midfielder Romauld Boco (Benin) and defender Bobby Hassell (England) who will be critical to the teama's chances.
As for Bengaluru FC, they would be hoping that striker Sean Rooney will come to the game with his shooting boots on as the Aussie has not scored in four I-League outings in contrast to the new recruit Eugeneson Lyngdoh who has two to his credit, including one in the Johor game.