Match 72 Preview: Bengaluru FC eye league double over rivals as Chennaiyin FC seek redemption
Bengaluru FC will face their southern rivals Chennaiyin FC in matchday 72 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season at the Athletic Stadium in Panaji, Goa.
The Blues go into this game on the back of a 1-1 draw against FC Goa in their last game.
Chennaiyin FC emerged victorious against NorthEast United FC in a 2-1 win in their last game.
Both teams have had a decent season so far and will need to go beyond their best to break into the top four.
Marco Pezzaiuoli’s men sit eighth in the league standings with 14 points, collecting three wins, five draws, and four losses. Despite being unbeaten in the last five games, it is a must-win match for the Bengaluru-based side to maintain strong hopes of a semi-final finish.
The Marina Machans currently sit third in the league table with 18 points, picking up five wins, three draws, and four losses. A win in this game will take them to the top of the table.
The two teams have faced each other ten times. Bengaluru FC have won five of the encounters while Chennaiyin FC have won it thrice, with the remaining two ending in draws. Bengaluru FC won 4-2 in the reverse fixture in match 45 this season.
In the Bengaluru FC camp, Leon Augustine is ruled out for the game as he is down with a fever. Yrondu Musavu-King will be missing in action for the game and might not feature for the rest of the season. Sarthak Golui is back in the squad but is still in quarantine.
Ashique Kuruniyan is doubtful after sustaining an injury during training. Cleiton Silva is doubtful too after getting a knock on his knee. Some players are injured, some are in quarantine, and some will come out of quarantine on matchday.
Bengaluru FC’s unbeaten run
Following their defeat to FC Goa in match 26, their third successive defeat at the time, Marco Pezzaiuoli stabilized the ship and they haven’t lost since. In the last six matches, they have been better offensively and defensively compared to their opening six matches. They have scored more goals (12) and conceded fewer goals (7). They have taken more shots as well. They are averaging 13.5 shots/match in the last 6 matches. In their first 6, they averaged 10.17 shots/match.
Chennaiyin FC’s lack of incisiveness in the final third
For the first time this season, Chennaiyin FC managed to score multiple goals in a single half of a match. Their attacking woes have seen them not score more than two goals in a game this season. All other teams have scored more than two goals in a game at least once this season.
Bandovic’s men have completed more passes in the final third and have had more touches in the final third than the league average but the touches and passes in the final third are not getting converted to shots. That’s where the issue lies for the Marina Machans.
Sunil Chhetri: The forward scored his first goal of the season in the last match and ended a goal drought that lasted 11 matches. In 12 matches against Chennaiyin, he scored six goals and provided two assists.
Gurpreet Sandhu: The custodian has kept two clean sheets this season and will be a key player in helping the team reach the top four. Sandhu has made 25 saves in 12 matches.
Vladimir Koman: The Hungarian midfielder is now Chennaiyin FC’s leading scorer this campaign with three goals. With one assist to his name, he has provided 4 goal contributions this season, joint highest among Chennaiyin FC players.
Slavko Damjanovic: The defender’s presence in the Chennaiyin FC backline makes it a formidable one. Damjanovic has made 57 clearances, 21 tackles, 21 blocks, and 16 interceptions along with a cracking passing accuracy of 81% in 12 games.
Match timings and telecast details
Match: Bengaluru FC vs Chennaiyin FC
Date: 26th January 2022
Venue: Athletic Stadium, Bambolim, Goa
Kick-off time: 7.30 pm
Telecast: Star Sports Network
Online Streaming: Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.