Bengaluru gun for top spot while Delhi hope for first win

Bottom-placed Delhi Dynamos FC will be looking for their first victory of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 when they face Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Monday. It will be a tough test for the Lions, considering Bengaluru are undefeated this season so far, having notched up five wins and a draw in their six outings. In stark contrast, Delhi only have four points from their eight matches, having lost four and drawn four.

The match will also be an opportunity for Bengaluru to go to the top of the table. The Blues are currently second in the table behind FC Goa. Both teams have 16 points, but the Gaurs currently occupy the top spot owing to a superior goal difference. Bengaluru, however, have played two fewer matches than Goa.

Interestingly, Bengaluru’s last defeat in the league stage of the Hero ISL came against Delhi. The Lions beat Bengaluru 2-0 on January 14, 2018, last season. Since then, the Blues have been unbeaten in the 14 league matches they have played in, winning 12 and drawing two.

Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru have been hands down the most impressive team in the league so far. The Blues are currently the only unbeaten team this season and have won their last four matches on a trot. Carles Cuadrat's men have looked like a well-rounded unit this season. The Blues not only boast the meanest defence in the league so far, having conceded just five goals in six matches, but have also been lethal going forward.

The iconic Sunil Chhetri has been in the thick of things with five goals and is currently third in the race for the Golden Boot, behind Goa's Ferran Corominas (8 goals) and NorthEast United FC's Bartholomew Ogbeche (7 goals). His strike partner Miku has also been on song this season and has three goals and two assists to his name. The Venezuelan did miss Bengaluru's last match against Goa with an injury and is reportedly doubtful for Monday's match as well. Miku's absence, however, didn't stop Bengaluru from beating Goa 2-1. If Miku is unavailable, Chencho Gyeltshen will most probably partner Chhetri up front.

Two players who are certain to miss the match are Dimas Delgado and Erik Paartalu. Delgado was sent off in the match against Goa and will be suspended against Delhi, while Paartalu has undergone a toe surgery which will keep him out for a few more matches. The absence of the two key midfielders will leave Bengaluru light in the middle of the park - something Delhi will have to take advantage of if they want to get a positive result.

Cuadrat allowed defender Rahul Bheke the freedom to join in with the attack every opportunity he got against Goa and the right-back was a constant threat in the opposition half. He also scored a magnificent back heel goal - his first-ever in the Hero ISL. We can expect to see him spending a lot of time in Delhi's half on Monday.

Here’s a look at Bengaluru’s current season in numbers:

Delhi Dynamos FC

Delhi are in the middle of their worst-ever start in the Hero ISL and are rooted to the bottom of the table with just four points from eight matches. The Lions will play their first match after a 17-day-long break and head coach Josep Gombau will be eager to make a fresh start and turn things around quickly.

The Lions have had their fair share of problems in both attack and defence. The team has only managed to score seven times and conceded 13 goals in their eight matches so far. To be fair, Delhi players showed a lot of heart in the last two outings against Jamshedpur and Goa, but could only manage a single point from these two matches despite their spirited display. Delhi fans will hope that the likes of Pritam Kotal, Narayan Das and Lallianzuala Chhangte can rally their team and pick up some points against the mighty Bengaluru.

Here’s a look at Delhi’s current season in numbers:

PROBABLE LINE-UPS:

Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Rahul Bheke, Albert Serran, Juanan, Nishu Kumar, Harmanjot Khabra, Kean Lewis, Xisco Hernandez, Udanta Singh, Chencho Gyeltshen, Sunil Chhetri (C)

Delhi Dynamos FC: Francisco Dorronsoro (GK), Gianni Zuiverloon, Marti Crespi, Narayan Das, Pritam Kotal (C), Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Nandhakumar Sekar, Marcos Tebar, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Bikramjit Singh, Adria Carmona

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Bengaluru’s last defeat in the Hero ISL league stage came against Delhi last season.
  • Delhi are the only team not to have won a single match this season.
  • Bengaluru are the only undefeated team so far in Hero ISL 2018-19.

FANSPEAK

Which youngster will leave a mark in the match?

  • Udanta Singh
  • Lallianzuala Chhangte

Catch the match live on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV from 7:30 PM.

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