Mumbai’s unbeaten away record faces biggest threat against Bengaluru
Defending champions, Bengaluru FC will be aiming to extend their unbeaten start to the season when they host Mumbai City FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday. The Blues have won three and drawn four matches so far in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20, continuing where they let off last term. They also come into the tie well-rested and would want to hand the Islanders their first away loss of the season, something the visitors would look to resist.
It's been 39 matches into the season and the Blues remain the only side yet to face defeat. The holders have been nothing short of magnificent off late, showing no glimpses of their early season struggles. At home, Carles Cuadrat’s men have been even more special, winning seven out of a possible nine points. Furthermore, they are yet to concede a single goal at home this season, and have also allowed the least shots of any home team so far.
Goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has been a major reason behind that record, pulling off match-defining stops in almost every encounter. The India international has an incredible 88.23% save percentage so far – the highest tally any stopper has managed after 39 matches in the history of the competition.
While the defence continues to prosper, the Blues have looked jaded in front of goal. Despite taking the fourth-highest attempts at goal so far this season, Cuadrat’s side have scored the third fewest, managing just seven strikes from as many matches. Against Odisha in their last encounter, the Blues converted just once despite having 13 attempts on goal – the fifth lowest conversion rate by a team in a match this season. The aim will be to rectify that, although the Islanders will be aware of it and might set up in order to further stifle the Blues’ attack.
In the last round of matches, Jorge Costa’s side have shown greater purpose at both ends of the pitch. Their attack, led by Amine Chermiti, has looked much more fluid and in sync with each other’s role. The Tunisian star has been the center-piece of that resurgence, and has scored four goals in seven matches – 40% of what the Islanders have managed all season. His influence on Mumbai’s attack is even greater in away matches, with the 31-year-old scoring three of the five goals his side have netted on the road so far.
Despite knowing that the Blues have a fantastic home record, Mumbai will be quietly confident of pulling off a major upset. They are unbeaten away from home so far this term, winning one and sharing the points in the other three games. To keep that record intact against the champions, Costa’s defence will need Mato Grgic working at his full potential. The Croatian returned from injury in their last match and has enough experience to keep out the fearsome Blues attack.
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
Mumbai City FC: Amrinder Singh (GK), Mato Grgic, Pratik Chaudhari, Subhasish Bose, Sarthak Golui, Sauvik Chakrabarti, Rowllin Borges, Paulo Machado, Modou Sougou, Mohamed Larbi, Amine Chermiti,
Did you know?
- Mumbai City have faced more than 10 shots in each of their previous four meetings with Bengaluru.
- If Mumbai mange to get a result, they will set a new personal unbeaten record away from home in the league.
- Bengaluru have faced the fewest shots at home this season – 23.
Will Mumbai City upset the apple cart and break through the Bengaluru defence?
Have your say in the comments below.
Live broadcast schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 39: Bengaluru FC vs Mumbai City FC
Time: 7:30 PM onwards, December 15
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV