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United SC have a battle on hand

Subrata

Calcutta: United SC entertain table-toppers Bengaluru FC in an I-League match, at the Kalyani Stadium, in Kalyani, on Thursday.

Bengaluru are having a remarkable debut I-League campaign as they have led the table for the majority of the season and currently are four points clear at the top.

The JSW-owned club had a mini slump after the I-League break as they picked up just one point from two games but bounced back in style last weekend with a convincing 3-0 victory over defending champions Churchill Brothers.

“The mark of any successful side, in any country in the world is how you react to defeat and we showed tremendous character to bounce backů We are looking forward to our return game on Thursday as we go into it on the back of a good win against Churchill Brothers. Saturday’s performance was a positive one,” said Westwood on the eve of the game.

Westwood is certain Thursday’s game will be anything but easy. “It is going to be a tough game against United Sports who have been difficult opponents to crack. They have showed good character through tough times and with the injection of a new coach, their approach will be different. We know we have to give 100% to get anything out of the game but it is a challenge we are looking forward to.”

By contrast, United SC are on a nine-match winless streak in the I-League and are in danger of relegation as they are only five points above rock-bottom Churchill Brothers, having played an extra game.

Four of those nine games have ended in defeats including a 4-0 hammering against Rangdajied United in the last round. The purple shirts have picked up just two points in three games under newly-appointed technical director Subrata Bhattacharya and thus badly need a win to get their campaign back on track. “We will not give up without putting up a fight. In India, there’s hardly a difference between the top club and the bottom one, ” he said.

United SC’s record in Kalyani hasn’t also been that great with two wins, two draws and two defeats from six outings. Bengaluru FC can’t afford to drop points and this match will be a great test of their character as they won’t enjoy the excellent home support of the Bangalore Football Stadium.