Bengaluru aim to rise to league summit with win over Odisha
Match 31 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 will see Odisha FC host Bengaluru in their temporary home, the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune on Wednesday. The two units come into the fixture on the back of contrasting draws. Odisha scored a late equaliser last time around, while the Blues were pegged back in the dying minutes in their previous outing against Hyderabad FC.
Nonetheless, Bengaluru will be slightly more confident considering their position in the table. Unbeaten so far, the Blues have 10 points and are third in the table, whereas Josep Gombau’s Odisha find themselves in sixth spot with six points from as many games.
The Bhubaneswar-based club are on a four-match unbeaten run, although three of those matches have ended in draws with only one ending in victory. Their defensive resilience has been the biggest positive for them of late, as the back four along with the midfield has slowly started to develop an understanding which has helped them on both ends of the pitch.
Young Indian players like Shubham Sarangi and Jerry Mawihmingthanga have been impressive as well and they will be looking to further impress against the likes of Ashique Kuruniyan and Nishu Kumar. Aridane Santana, along with former Blues winger, Xisco Hernandez hold the key to unlocking a tight Bengaluru defence which has conceded just two goals in six matches so far.
Their centre-back pairing of Diawandou Diagne and Carlos Delgado, meanwhile, will be under immense pressure from the fearsome Bengaluru attack, perhaps prompting Gombau to select the highly mobile Vinit Rai alongside Marcos Tebar in the centre of midfield.
An agonising late equaliser by Hyderabad forward, Robin Singh in their last fixture denied the champions their third successive win, which would have taken them to the top of the table. That said, the point still added to their tally and they now find themselves just one point off the top. Still unbeaten, the Blues have been nearly perfect in every match and will be eager to rise to the league summit with a win in Pune.
Captain Sunil Chhetri has found the back of the net in their last three matches and will be Bengaluru’s biggest attacking asset against Odisha. Raphael Augusto has been fantastic since his arrival from Chennaiyin, but the playmaker will now need to add numbers to his game and ease some of the burden from Chhetri’s shoulders. Udanta Singh, likewise, will be expected to deliver more and help the Blues find the net with greater frequency.
Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Albert Serran, Juanan, Harmanjot Khabra, Nishu Kumar, Erik Paartalu, Raphael Augusto, Dimas Delgado, Sunil Chhetri (C), Ashique Kuruniyan, Udanta Singh
Odisha FC: Arshdeep Singh (GK), Narayan Das, Shubham Sarangi, Diawandou Diagne, Carlos Delgado, Vinit Rai, Marcos Tebar, Xisco Hernandez, Aridane Santana, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Nandhakumar Sekar
Did you know?
- Bengaluru have kept the most clean sheets (4) so far this season.
- Six of the eight goals conceded by Odisha so far have come in the second half.
- Bengaluru are to concede a goal in the first half this season.
Josep Gombau or Carles Cuadrat. Which head coach has impressed you more this season?
Have your say in the comments below.
Live broadcast schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 31: Odisha FC vs Bengaluru FC
Time: 7:30 PM onwards, December 4
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV