The hosts will be looking to get maximum points from their first ever ISL game.
Football action returns to the Sri Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday as Bengaluru FC are all set to make their debut in the Indian Super League (ISL). The Blues will take on last season’s semi-finalists Mumbai City FC who are still stinging from their loss to eventual champions Atletico de Kolkata.
Blues coach Albert Roca saw his team miss out narrowly from making the AFC Cup final for the second year running when they were beaten by Tajik side FC Istiklol. They will be looking to make amends in what will be a landmark moment in the club’s history when they take the pitch on Sunday.
The Blues were a busy lot in the transfer market this year prior to the ISL as they brought in a host of foreign players in the form of Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado, Antonio Nobrega, Eduardo Garcia, Antonio Dovale and Miku. While Garcia, Miku and Nobrega were not seen in action in the AFC Cup games against 4.25 SC and Istiklol FC, Paartalu, Dimas and Dovale have been integrated into the squad seamlessly and will allay any doubts on whether this team will work as a cohesive unit in the ISL
Mumbai on the other hand also boasts of stability in their ranks with coach Alexandre Guimaraes hoping to build on last year’s stellar show in the league. They have roped in workhorse striker Balwant Singh, Arindam Bhattacharya, Amrinder Singh, Abinash Ruidas in addition to Lucian Goian, Everton Santos, Achille Emana and Rafa Jorda.
The Mumbai FC City gaffer will be tempted to start with both Balwant and Achille Emana, both of whom offer abilities that complement each other in the final third. With Bengaluru most likely to adopt a 3 man defence, it will be interesting to see how they cope with a potent attacking unit like this.
This will be the first-ever meeting between the two sides.
Mumbai City FC will play for the Glory in the ISL 2017-18
Man To Watch
Sunil Chhetri-Bengaluru FC: The 33-year old skipper of the Blues was last seen in the Mumbai City FC shirt last season and he has already admitted that he would not celebrate should he score against his former side. However, it will not stop him from aiming to cause maximum damage as he attempts to get his Bengaluru side off to the perfect start in an extended ISL this season. A firm fan favourite both at the club and international level, Chhetri will be the man that the Mumbaikars will be looking to silence over the course of 90 minutes.
Achille Emana-Mumbai City FC: The 35-year old Cameroonian is one that is capable of picking a pass and unlocking defences. The former Olympique Marseille and Lyon man has plied his trade in Europe and will be looking to use all of his pedigree in causing confusion in the minds of a Bengaluru side who will be making their first-ever appearance in the competition.
Bengaluru FC eyeing first Hero ISL title in their Debut season
Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet, Khabra, Johnson, Juanan, Nishu, Paartalu, Dimas, Lenny, Chhetri, Udanta, Miku.
Mumbai City FC: Amrinder, Aiborlang, Gerson, Lucian, Gaikwad, Sehnaj, Achille, Leo Costa, Sanju Pradhan, Balwant Singh, Everton Santos
The match will be broadcast live on Star Sports 1 and Stars Sports 1 HD. It will be also available for live streaming on Hotstar and you can also follow the live commentary on Khel Now.