The heated rivalry between Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC is set to reignite once again on Wednesday as the Southern adversaries face off at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. Beyond the mere pursuit of three points, this clash carries the weight of a longstanding feud, fueled by memorable encounters that have left fans on the edge of their seats.

Amidst a challenging season for both teams, where Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC find themselves in 8th and 9th positions respectively in the points table, the stakes could be higher than ever as both teams look to bounce back with three points from this fixture.

Bengaluru FC, under interim head coach Renedy Singh, seek to capitalise on their historical dominance in this fixture, having secured victory in seven out of the 13 previous face-offs. They remain unbeaten in the last eight encounters, with five wins and three draws. In contrast, Chennaiyin FC, with just three victories to their name, strive to improve their numbers, fueled by the support of their home fans.

Now, let's delve into the timeline of this rivalry and explore the moments that have defined the heated clashes between Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC.

Dhanpal Ganesh's Late Winner – Where It All Began

The Blues might have the upper hand over the Marina Machans, but it was Chennaiyin FC who bit the first cherry in the southern rivalry. Bengaluru FC, making their debut in the ISL that season, hosted Chennaiyin FC on a cold evening at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium as the two sides met for the first time in the league.

The Marina Machans took the lead as early as the 5th minute of the game through Jeje Lalpekhlua and were cruising to victory until Sunil Chhetri drew the home side back into the game in the 85th minute. More drama unfolded in the game as substitute Dhanpal Ganesh sealed the hosts' fate with a brilliant header off Rene Mihelic's floater, securing all three points.

Triumph over Rivals – The Most Famous Victory

Chennaiyin FC fans will always remind the Blues that they came out on top in probably the most important fixture between the two teams, which was the ISL 2017-18 final in Bengaluru. The Marina Machans went down in the reverse fixture in the league by a 3-1 scoreline; however, John Gregory’s men proved their mettle once again to edge past the Blues in a five-goal thriller in the backyard.

Bengaluru FC started in fine fashion after Sunil Chhetri put them ahead in the eighth minute, which remain the fastest goal in an ISL final. However, Brazilian centre-back Mailson Alves scored a double before the half-time break, reversing the advantage, with Raphael Augusto extending the lead further in the second half. Miku reduced the deficit late in stoppage time, but it was not enough as the Marina Machans secured their second ISL cup, defeating their southern rival.

The Blues Take Control

Chennaiyin FC held a 3-2 lead in the head-to-head record before this fixture back in November 2019. However, the Blues asserted their dominance with a commanding performance, securing an impressive 3-0 victory over Gregory’s side.

The Carles Cuadrat-coached team created a flurry of goal-scoring chances, with Erik Paartalu, Sunil Chhetri, and Semboi Haokip finding the back of the net. This victory not only levelled the head-to-head record but also marked the beginning of their ongoing unbeaten streak against Chennaiyin FC.

Bengaluru FC Topped the Goal Fest

Bengaluru FC emerged victorious in a thrilling six-goal spectacle in Vasco, defeating their rivals 4-2. In this dynamic match, four different players found the back of the net for the Blues. Mirlan Murzaev provided the initial lead for the hosts, followed by goals from Cleiton Silva and Alan Costa, giving Bengaluru FC the advantage at halftime.

Despite Rahim Ali levelling the score in the second half, substitutes Udanta Singh and Pratik Chaudhari added to the scoresheet, securing the Blues' fifth win over Chennaiyin FC. This triumph also marked Bengaluru FC’s first win in eight games, bringing an end to their winless streak in the league.

January 2023 – The Final Showdown

In the most recent clash between the two sides, Bengaluru FC cruised past the Marina Machans with a 3-1 scoreline. Despite Chennaiyin FC's strong start in the match, they fell behind to young star Sivasakthi Narayanan, who scored twice within the opening 23 minutes.

Rohit Kumar extended the lead further at the half-hour mark as the Blues struck thrice in the opening half. Although Edwin Vanspaul pulled one back in the 59th minute, the Blues' defence held firm for the remainder of the match, securing Bengaluru FC's fourth consecutive win in the league.