Match 16 Preview: Bengaluru eye first win of the season against Chennaiyin

Bengaluru FC will be aiming to rise above Chennaiyin FC in the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) standings with a win over the two-time champions at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Friday. The Blues haven’t enjoyed the best of starts to the season with two draws and will be eyeing their first win of the campaign on Friday. Chennaiyin, on the other hand, have four points from two games with a win and a draw so far. The two southern rivals have faced off seven times in the Hero ISL in the past and have won thrice each besides also being involved in a draw once.

Friday’s clash between the teams will be viewed as a game that both sides can take maximum points from. Bengaluru, in particular, will be eager for their first win of the campaign having begun Hero ISL 2020-21 with consecutive draws. The Blues haven’t looked the best while going forward and have attempted 12 shots -- the least by a team so far. Their three shots on target is also the least by any team this season, making it imperative for their forwards Sunil Chhetri, Cleiton Silva, Kristian Opseth and Deshorn Brown to find their scoring boots soon.

Their frontline could also do with a bit of support from their midfield with the likes of Udanta Singh and Ashique Kuruniyan not having as much of an impact as they would have liked in Bengaluru’s first two games of the season. The Blues’ central midfield area can also do better when it comes to unlocking opposition defences. Suresh Wangjam and Erik Paartalu have shown that they can be a threat from midfield in the past and will be hoping to make their presence felt against Chennaiyin.

Dimas Delgado is another creative midfield option that must start the game for Bengaluru. Defensively, Carles Cuadrat’s men have been solid as expected with a back three of Francisco Gonzalez, Harmanjot Khabra and Juanan. They’ve conceded two goals and kept one clean sheet so far.

"The team has been showing a lot of consistency, much like last season. We have very clear patterns in our defensive structure. We had a moment in the Goa game that the team suffered a little bit, that is when the other team scored but for the rest of the game, we controlled the attack of the other team very well. At the other end, we all know that we have to improve the way that we arrive at the opponent’s box. We are working on that and we have been trying different situations," Bengaluru head coach Cuadrat said in the pre-match press conference.

Meanwhile, Chennaiyin can also be proud of their early season defensive showing having conceded just one goal in two games. The Marina Machans have had to face just three shots on target over the course of those two games with their defensive options of Enes Sipovic, Eli Sabia, Reagan Singh, Jerry Lalrinzuala and Lalchhuanmawia Fanai proving to be solid at the back.

The usual suspects of Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Rafael Crivellaro have had their moments in midfield in Chennaiyin’s first two games, but they will be hoping to kick on by making an even greater impact as the season goes on. Deepak Tangri has been somewhat of a revelation for them in the heart of midfield and even drew praise from head coach Csaba Laszlo after their last game. Up front, Esmael Goncalves has looked like a threat while moving forward but striker Jakub Sylvestr, who missed a penalty in Chennaiyin’s last match, has to do better and settle quickly.

"We watched Bengaluru's games and saw how they play. They are a physical and tall team. They create from set-pieces and long throw-ins and we must be prepared for it. We have our weaknesses and they have theirs but I'm concentrating on my team right now," Laszlo said ahead of the game.

Squads:

Chennaiyin FC

Goalkeepers: Revanth BY, Vishal Kaith, Karanjit Singh, Samik Mitra.

Defenders: Lalchhuanmawia Fanai, Enes Sipovic, Reagan Singh, Eli Sabia, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Remi, Balaji Ganesan, Aqib Nawab, Deepak Tangri

Midfielders: Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev, Thoi Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Memo Moura, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rafael Crivellaro, Abhijit Sarkar, Pandiyan Sinivasan, Germanpreet Singh, Dhanpal Ganesh, Edwin Vanspaul.

Forwards: Jakub Sylvestr, Aman Chetri, Rahim Ali, Esmael Goncalves.

Bengaluru FC

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Lara Sharma, Sharon

Defenders: Juanan, Rahul Bheke, Francisco Gonzalez, Ajith Kumar, Joe Zoherliana, Biswa Darjee, Namgyal Bhutia, Parag Srivas, Pratik Chaudhari, Wungngayam Muirang

Midfielders: Dimas Delgado, Erik Paartalu, Suresh Wangjam, Thoi Singh, Ajay Chhetri, Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Amay Morajkar, Harmanjot Khabra, Cleiton Silva

Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Kristian Opseth, Ashique Kuruniyan, Deshorn Brown, Udanta Singh, Edmund Lalrindika, Leon Augustin, Semboi Haokip, Naorem Singh

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 16: Chennaiyin FC vs Bengaluru FC

Date: December 4 (Friday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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