Talking Point: Can Bengaluru find their scoring boots against a leaky Highlanders defence?

Match 56 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 sees NorthEast United FC face off against Bengaluru FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Tuesday. Both sides go into the game on the back of losses. Bengaluru suffered a fourth straight defeat in their last outing while NorthEast United’s winless run in the league extended to six games after they fell short against Hyderabad FC in their previous match. Here are some of the talking points from the upcoming encounter between the Blues and the Highlanders.

Faltering NorthEast defence against Bengaluru’s misfiring attack

After a solid defensive start to their campaign, the Highlanders have conceded nine goals in their last four matches. Meanwhile, Bengaluru have only scored 12 goals this season and have failed to find the back of the net in three of their last four matches. Even though the Blues have been creating chances, converting their opportunities has been an issue. During their run of four consecutive losses, Bengaluru’s only goal came from the penalty spot. Tuesday’s clash is the perfect opportunity for the likes of Kristian Opseth and Deshorn Brown to score their first goals of the season and find some form. 

NorthEast United’s domestic talents could do better

The Indian players for the Highlanders have not always been at their best this season, especially in the attacking third. Rochharzela is the only Indian goal-scorer for NorthEast United this season. Overall, domestic players from NorthEast have contributed in only five of their 12 goals (one goal and four assists) this campaign. Winger Ninthoinganba Meetei and midfielder Lalengmawia have shown their abilities but can do better in the attacking third.

Chhetri, Gallego need to don talisman roles for respective teams

Both sides have personnel with Hero ISL experience and leadership qualities, which could prove to be crucial in turning around their team’s fortunes. Sunil Chhetri is the highest goal-scorer for Bengaluru this season with four goals and two of those have come from the penalty spot. The Blues skipper has scored six times against the Highlanders in the past and will hope to add to that tally on Tuesday.

Federico Gallego has had a stop-start season and the Uruguayan playmaker has scored only one goal from the penalty spot for his team so far. The attacker is yet to hit the form that helped the Highlanders to the semi-finals of Hero ISL 2018-19 and playing against a side which has been leaky in defence could help him rediscover his confidence. Gallego has shown that he’s capable of running matches from midfield in the past and NorthEast will be hoping that he can do so against Bengaluru.

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