Margao, April 20 IANS | 7 months ago

Bengaluru FC are close to becoming the first team to win the I-League on debut but will have to negotiate a tricky opponent when they take on Dempo Sports Club at the Nehru Stadium here Monday.

The Airtel I-League leaders need a win from any of their last two matches in Goa, but knowing the way Bengaluru FC have approached their campaign, coach Ashley Westwood will not leave anything to chance in the concluding league game.

Bengaluru lead the title race with 41 points while East Bengal (40 points) and Salgaocar FC (38 points) are also in contention for the biggest prize in Indian football.

"I don't think they (Bengaluru FC) will slip up and now they will be in the mood," East Bengal coach Armando Colaco said.

It has all worked fine for Bengaluru FC so far in the league, but at the other end Dempo Sports Club will be lying in wait. Dempo have been one of the more impressive Goan teams in the second phase and should provide more than just healthy competition to the visitors.

Arthur Papas' side have undergone a massive transformation in the second phase, winning most of their matches.

"Our challenge is to match the motivation and ambition of Bengaluru FC as they are fighting to win the championship and their players will be very determined," said Dempo coach Arthur Papas.

"Bengaluru have led the league all season and set the standard for results on the field and as a club off the field. They have brought an increased level of professionalism to the I-League which can only be good," said the Australian coach.

Bengaluru got the better of Dempo 3-1 at home but Papas believes that is hardly an advantage for the visitors.

"We are a different team from the first time we played. Our style of football is now more ingrained and has become more efficient due to the players that arrived as the season progressed. Our second half of the season has been as good as any team at the top."

(Posted on 20-04-2014)

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