Talking Point: Can Chennaiyin stop Bengaluru’s in-form Cleiton Silva?

Bengaluru FC will be looking to close the gap on the top four in the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) standings with a win over Chennaiyin FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Friday. The Blues ended an eight-match winless streak in their last outing and will go into the clash against their southern rivals in a confident frame of mind. Chennaiyin, on the other hand, have lost two of their last three matches and need to start winning soon if they want to keep their top four prospects alive. Here we have a look at some of the talking points ahead of the encounter between the teams.

Chennaiyin’s set-piece weakness could play into Bengaluru’s hands

Friday’s Hero ISL clash will witness a team that is highly successful from set-pieces going up against a side that has struggled to defend such situations this season. Chennaiyin have conceded eight goals from set-pieces in Hero ISL 2020-21, which accounts for 50% of the goals that they’ve let in so far. Bengaluru, meanwhile, find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to set-pieces and have excelled from such situations with 10 goals from set-plays. The last time the two teams locked horns Bengaluru scored from a set-piece to register a win and needless to say, the Blues will be aiming to make the most of their dead ball opportunities against Chennaiyin again.  

In-form Cleiton Silva could be the difference

Cleiton Silva has been in fine form of late and is Bengaluru’s joint top-scorer alongside Sunil Chhetri with five goals. However unlike Chhetri, who has scored twice from the penalty spot, none of Cleiton’s goals have been penalties. Furthermore, he isn’t just a goal-scorer but also sets up his teammates and creates chances. Cleiton, in fact, is the leading assists provider (3) among the Bengaluru players and his recent form, in particular, will worry Chennaiyin’s defence. He will go into the clash against the Marina Machans with two goals and two assists in his last four games.

Second-half struggles holding Chennaiyin back

Chennaiyin will face Bengaluru with concerns over their performances, particularly in the second half of matches. Only four of the Marina Machans’ 11 goals this season have come in the second period, which is the least by any team in Hero ISL 2020-21. Their second half woes aren’t only confined to one end of the pitch though. If goal-scoring is an area of concern for them in the second half, conceding is perhaps even more worrisome for Csaba Laszlo’s men. They have let in 11 of their 16 goals conceded in the second half, which doesn’t bode well for them against a Bengaluru side that has netted 11 of their 19 goals after the restart.

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