Bengaluru FC will host East Bengal FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday in what promises to be a rollercoaster of emotions for the latter’s head coach Carles Cuadrat amidst his return to his old hunting ground.

Cuadrat continues to be the standout tactician in the Blues’ history, having pioneered them to the Indian Super League (ISL) Cup in 2018-19, and is widely adored by the West Block Blues. As he tries to spin his magic around the Red and Gold Brigade, the Spaniard will be keen to go back from his former home ground with happy memories for the Kolkata-based club.

What’s at stake?

Bengaluru FC

The Blues ended their previous match against Mohun Bagan Super Giant with nine men as Suresh Singh Wangjam and Naorem Roshan Singh were sent off. Simon Grayson thus has two of his definite starters absent for this game. His manoeuvring of the squad and playing XI in those circumstances will be integral as the team searches for their first win of the campaign.

East Bengal FC

Cuadrat’s impact on the East Bengal FC team is quite evident as they have embarked on an unbeaten start to the season and defeated Hyderabad FC by 2-1 emphatically on Saturday. There is added weightage in this encounter considering Cuadrat’s history with Bengaluru FC and there is no way that the head coach will leave a stone unturned to secure a positive outcome from this match.

Key Players

Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)

All eyes will be on Sunil Chhetri as the Bengaluru FC skipper is set to play his first game of the ISL 2023-24 campaign on Wednesday. His arrival will bring in a sense of energy, enthusiasm, and on-field leadership that can help the team bounce back and bag their first win of the season.

Nishu Kumar (East Bengal FC)

Like Cuadrat, defender Nishu Kumar will also square off against his former club, a place where he shot to stardom from 2015-2020. Nishu has seamlessly settled into the East Bengal FC backline and his experience and quality are reflecting in the enhanced solidity and resilience of their defensive unit.

Head-to-Head

Played – 6

East Bengal FC – 3

Bengaluru FC – 2

Draw – 1

Trivia: East Bengal have played at this venue only once in the ISL. They won that game by 1-0 as former BFC star Cleiton Silva struck a goal for them in that match.

Team Talk

“We do bounce off the crowd, which is really good for us. Hopefully we can entertain them and it can be a cracking atmosphere. We all have to remember the second half of the last season, with the wins that we had, there were some special nights. We have had many special nights in the last few seasons and hopefully we can have many more of them at Kantereeva. Ultimately, we want to start winning matches because we have lost the first two,” Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson said, banking on the support of the home crowd to get their first win of the season.

“Last season, Bengaluru FC were fighting for trophies. They won the Durand Cup. They were in the final of the Super Cup and the ISL, which means that they are a very competitive team. They have also been working in bringing new players here to make an even better project. So, we have to be ready for a very competitive match because they need points, very clearly, after two games, they are going to give everything. They also have the Kanteerava supporting them, that I know very well,” Cuadrat took stock of Bengaluru FC before their upcoming faceoff.

Where to Watch

Viacom18 is the new home of Indian football and the match between Bengaluru FC and East Bengal FC will kick off at prime time of 8 PM on October 4, 2023. Fans across the country can catch the action in English, Hindi, Bengali, and Malayalam. Fans can watch the action on the linear channels like, Sports18 Khel (Hindi), Sports18 1 SD & HD (English), VH1 SD & HD (English), Surya Movies (Malayalam), DD Bangla & Colors Bangla Cinema (Bengali).

In addition to this, as part of FSDL’s partnership with OneFootball, ISL live streams and highlights to all matches of the upcoming 2023-24 season will be delivered across more than 190 countries.

ISL Fantasy: Top Picks & Players to Watch Out

BFC – Curtis Main (9.5cr)

Has scored Bengaluru FC’s only goal of the ISL season so far.

BFC – Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (5.3cr)

The goalkeeper has kept 39 clean sheets in 118 ISL appearances.

EBFC – Cleiton Silva (8.3cr)

Silva has scored twice in two outings for East Bengal so far this season

If not registered already, fans can participate in the overall league or club-based leagues based on their preferences.  create private leagues, inviting friends and fellow football aficionados to compete. Prizes include a Sony PlayStation®5 gaming console, EA Sports FC 24, signed club merchandise, and a Gift Card worth INR 20,000, will be awarded to 100 winners at the end of the season. Sign up at:  https://fantasy.indiansuperleague.com/