Defending champions out for revenge against East Bengal
Written by: Srinivasan
The Red and Gold arrive in Bengaluru as the table toppers...
Trevor Morgan's East Bengal will take on reigning champions Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday in what will be a pulsating encounter. The Kolkata-based club have secured 21 points from 10 outings and are positioned at the top of the league table.
However, they have only picked up 2 points from their last 3 games which included a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Aizawl FC. On the other hand, Bengaluru have stumbled after a superb start to their title defence. Losses to East Bengal and Churchill Brothers followed by draws against Minerva Punjab, DSK, Aizawl and Mumbai FC see Albert Roca's men 8 points behind their opponents heading into this game.
Juanan is available for selection after the Spaniard has finished serving his suspension. John Johnson is still out as he recovers from a broken rib. Roca can welcome back full back Rino Anto from injury who will no doubt play a part in this tie.
However, the absence of suspensions among the Red and Gold’s ranks will leave coach Trevor Morgan without any further concerns about re-arranging the tactical display against Lajong.The visitors, East Bengal will be missing marquee striker Willis Plaza against the defending champions who has been ruled out of the game with injury.
Veteran player Mehtab Hossain, who has been subject to much criticism in these past weeks for his sudden dip of performance is doubtful to secure a place in the match day squad along with skipper Lalrindika Ralte. The veteran duo is expected to be replaced with Rowlin Borges and Jackichand Singh against the defending champions.
Side back Rahul Bheke is another doubtful against Bengaluru FC with a slight knock in the right leg.The Kolkata-based club will also be missing veteran defender Arnab Mondal and young sensation Abinash Ruidas who were excluded from the 20-men-team to travel to Bengaluru. However, the Kolkata-based team does not have any suspensions to pull them back which come as a welcome news for Coach Trevor Morgan against the defending champions.
Head to Head
The 2 teams have met each other 8 times in the last 4 years with the Kolkatans having the upper hand with 5 wins. The last time the 2 teams met saw the Red and Gold run away with a 2-1 win which saw BFC old boy Robin Singh net the winner.
Albert Roca (Bengaluru FC): "We have a lot of positives from the last three games, the way we have played, creating more chances, we were on our way to winning, unfortunately, we were not so lucky. We expect East Bengal coming hard on us. From three bad results, I am sure even for them this is an important game.”
Trevor Morgan (East Bengal FC): "Bengaluru is a good side with good players. I think we have to we have to perform well and get a result. We are quite disappointed with the last two games we played against Shillong Lajong and Aizawl FC. We need to start winning and tomorrow’s game will be a tough one!”
Man to Watch
Sunil Chhetri - Bengaluru FC: The 32-year old India and BFC captain will need to be at his very best if he is to inspire his troops to a victory against the Red and Gold. The former East Bengal man has been among the goals in the last 3 games for the champions and will look to continue that streak against his former employers.
Robin Singh - East Bengal: The veteran striker will be the key to success for East Bengal against Bengaluru FC. A former Bengaluru player himself, Singh knows the Blues’ squad inside out which helped him score a goal against the Bengaluru-based club in the previous month. Singh is known for his positioning sense and his eyes for goals finding the slightest gaps in the opposition defense.
A clinical striker, Singh also adds bits of physicality in the forward line-up which itself is a delightful tactic against Bengaluru’s John Johnson in the back four. The former Bengaluru player has a knack for scoring important goals which will be tough to deal with for Albert Roca's men on Saturday.
Bengaluru FC (4-2-3-1): Amrinder, Khabra, Juanan, Jhingan, Ralte, Lenny, Watson, Eugeneson, Chhetri, Udanta, Vineeth
East Bengal FC (4-1-2-1-2): Rehenesh (GK), Bheke, Gurwinder, Bukenya, Das, Mehtab, Jackichand, Poojary, Wedson, Plaza, Payne.
The game is Live on Ten 2 at 07:00 pm IST.
Published: Fri Feb 24, 2017 08:29 PM IST