NorthEast aim to regain form as they host wounded Bengaluru

NorthEast United FC will be aiming to get their season back on track when they welcome Bengaluru FC to the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Wednesday. After a strong start to their Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 campaign, the Highlanders have faded both in terms of results and performance in their last few rounds of matches and they now find themselves in fifth spot heading into the game.

Bengaluru, on the other hand, come into the fixture on the back of their first loss of the season. As far as the head-to-head record is concerned, the Blues have been the dominant force in the fixture with four wins from seven meetings between the two.

NorthEast United FC

Robert Jarni’s Highlanders return to Hero ISL 2019-20 action after more than a 10-day break. The club will be hoping that the rest benefits them and helps them regain some of their early season form. Of late, they haven’t been as cohesive on the pitch and are winless in their last three matches. To add further insult to injury, the Highlanders will be without top scorer, Asamoah Gyan.

The forward has failed to recover from the injury he sustained in the early exchanges against ATK and his absence will be a massive blow for the hosts in the clash against the Blues. Gyan has scored 50% of the goals for NorthEast in the Hero ISL this term, with his overall contribution also being imperative to how Jarni’s side perform. While the return of Federico Gallego is a boost, the Uruguayan has just come back from injury and it remains to be seen how he copes with the intensity of the league.

Bengaluru FC

Carles Cuadrat’s side saw their 19-game unbeaten run at home snapped by Mumbai City FC on Sunday. The defending champions were uncharacteristically twitchy in defence and allowed the Islanders to score more goals than they had conceded in their previous seven matches combined. Their lack of ruthlessness in front of goal was again highlighted in the match, with the Blues now the lowest scoring team in the current top four.

Goals on the road have also been hard to come by for the champions with them finding the net just three times in their last four away matches. Furthermore, captain and ace striker Sunil Chhetri hasn’t enjoyed playing against the Highlanders in the past, scoring just once in five matches against the Guwahati-based club. That said, the defending champions have the tools at their disposal to change that narrative and will begin as favourites given the absence of Highlanders’ hitman, Gyan.

Probable line-ups:

NorthEast United FC: Subhasish Roy (GK), Mislav Komorski, Kai Heerings, Rakesh Pradhan, Reagan Singh, Jose Leudo, Panagiotis Triadis, Redeem Tlang, Martin Chaves, Milan Singh, Nikhil Kadam

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

Did you know?

  • NorthEast United have won just once in seven meetings with Bengaluru FC.
  • Bengaluru have conceded just two goals away from home so far this season – the second-best tally in the division.
  • Bengaluru are still unbeaten away from home so far this season.

Fan Speak:

Will Federico Gallego’s return inspire NorthEast United to a win?

Have your say in the comments below.

Live broadcast schedule:

Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 40: NorthEast United FC vs Bengaluru FC

Time: 6:00 PM onwards, December 18

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV

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