Darren Caldeira column: KBFC vs BFC rivalry gets the best out of players

Kerala Blasters FC versus Bengaluru FC is one of the first matches you want to check when the fixture list is out. 

Both teams have a really good rivalry that's built over the last few seasons. And it's not just on the pitch but also off the pitch where there is banter and words are exchanged on social media. There is always some build-up leading into the match, which is nice. The fans get involved. The players on the pitch as well give it their all. So there are a lot of expectations when it comes to a Kerala Blasters FC vs Bengaluru FC match. 

Having played for both of these clubs, I know what this match means to the two sets of fans, and Sunday’s match in Kochi will be no different. The two teams, however, are going into it in contrasting forms. 

It's been a poor start for Bengaluru FC. After winning the Durand Cup, there was so much expectation from them coming into the Hero ISL season. We were expecting Simon Grayson’s side to be a robust team at the back, not conceding many goals. However, that hasn't been the case. They have been leaking way too many goals and look shaky.

Unfortunately for them, their main men upfront, Roy Krishna and Sunil Chhetri haven't been firing. So that's also been a problem for them. 

They are coming up against a Kerala Blasters FC side who are on fire at the moment. With four wins in a row, the home side is looking pretty solid. It seems like Ivan Vukomanovic has found his best XI, who when they get on the pitch are making a difference. He has players on the bench who can come and turn the game around. So that's very important for Vukomanovic's side. 

But Bengaluru FC can play well, as we have seen in some of the recent games, especially the one against ATK Mohun Bagan. I feel they should have gotten something out of that game. They were pretty solid and didn't allow ATK Mohun Bagan to create too much. It was just the brilliance of Dimitri Petratos that settled the contest. 

They have had a couple of games, the one against Mumbai City FC where the individual errors have cost the team. That's something they need to cut down, especially against Kerala Blasters FC, who we know start well. If Bengaluru FC manage to keep it tight at the back, then they have a chance. 

Kerala Blasters FC host Bengaluru FC in the Hero Indian Super League on Sunday at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Kochi. The Match will be shown LIVE on Star Sports Network, Jio TV and Hotstar.

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