Bengaluru gear up for tough test against Mumbai
Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 league leaders Bengaluru FC will have their work cut out for them when they host an in-form Mumbai City FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday. Unbeaten in their last six matches, the Islanders are just three points behind the Blues in the table. A win on Sunday can see them go level on points with Carles Cuadrat's men.
The two teams squared off twice last season, with Bengaluru coming out on top on both occasions.
Bengaluru, beyond the shadow of a doubt, have been the most dominant team this season so far. The Blues are still unbeaten in this campaign and currently top the table with 23 points from nine matches. Much of their success this season can be attributed to their tight defence, which boasts the meanest defensive record in the league so far, having let in just seven goals. The likes of Juanan, Albert Serran, Rahul Bheke and Nishu Kumar have been phenomenal for the Blues this season. Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has also delivered whenever his team needed him to step up.
Bengaluru's forward line led by captain Sunil Chhetri has been no slouch either, scoring 16 goals in nine matches. Despite losing ace striker Miku due to an injury a few weeks back, the Blues have shown no signs of slowing down. Chencho Gyeltshen and Udanta Singh have been among the goals in Bengaluru's last few matches and have stepped up to compensate for Miku's absence.
One of the trademarks of this Bengaluru team has been their ability to wear down their opposition and score late in matches. The Blues have picked up seven points this season courtesy of late goals.
Here’s a look at Bengaluru’s current season in numbers:
The Islanders were inconsistent at the beginning of the season but have hit their stride recently. After two losses, one win and a draw in their first four outings, Mumbai are unbeaten in their last six and have won five of them. A big reason behind the turnaround has been their defence led by Lucian Goian, which has kept a whopping five clean sheets in their last six fixtures.
On the attacking front, Mumbai somewhat struggled in the early stages of the season. But with the likes of Modou Sougou, Arnold Issoko and Paulo Machado hitting form of late, the Islanders have started to look dangerous going forward. Six of their 13 goals this season have come in the last two matches. Youngster Raynier Fernandes has also started making a name for himself and found the net in his last two outings for Mumbai. Sougou is the team's top scorer with four goals and is expected to be the biggest threat for the Bengaluru defence on Sunday.
Here’s a look at Mumbai’s current season in numbers:
BENGALURU FC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Rahul Bheke, Albert Serran, Juanan, Nishu Kumar, Harmanjot Khabra, Dimas Delgado, Xisco Hernandez, Udanta Singh, Chencho Gyeltshen, Sunil Chhetri (C)
MUMBAI CITY FC: Amrinder Singh (GK), Sauvik Chakrabarti, Lucian Goian, Joyner Lourenco, Subhasish Bose, Arnold Issoko, Raynier Fernandes, Sehnaj Singh, Paulo Machado (C), Modou Sougou, Rafael Bastos
DID YOU KNOW?
- Bengaluru have a 100% win record against Mumbai in the Hero ISL.
- Mumbai have kept five clean sheets in their last six matches.
- Mumbai are on a six-match unbeaten run – their best-ever in the Hero ISL.
Will Sunil Chhetri score against a tight Mumbai defence?
Have your say in the comments section below.
Catch the match live on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV from 7:30 PM.