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Chennaiyin host Bengaluru looking to turn tables in summit clash


The Blues will want to get even for their defeat in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

It’s the showdown between two teams that have set the pace this season in the Hero Indian Super League. Even though both Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC are comfortably settled in the top two positions in the league standing, there still will be a lot to play for when they square off at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday.

Second placed Chennaiyin FC are currently four points behind table toppers Bengaluru FC but John Gregory's men have played one game less than their southern rivals. Chennayin had defeated Bengaluru 2-1 at their home and a win tomorrow will see the Chennai team cut the lead to just one point. But, it will not be easy. Bengaluru FC come into this game with three consecutive wins under their belt. And this time, Bengaluru will look to turn the tables on Chennai.

Mindful of the task at hand, Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory told reporters at the pre-match press conference that for him, the season actually starts now.

"For me, the season starts tomorrow. This is when you find how good you are. Everything has just been jostling for positions. It just like practice lap in Formula 1. We are second in the grid and the race actually starts tomorrow. We have five games in 17 days that will determine if we make it to the play-offs," he added.  

Talking about the team selection for tomorrow's big game, Gregory said, he has the complete squad to choose from but he'll make that decision only before the game.  "Everyone is fit and healthy for this crucial period. I'm fortunate to have a good medical staff that has taken good care of the players," he added.

Though Chennaiyin FC have the advantage of a 2-1 win over BFC in the last game, the Bengaluru head coach Albert Roca believes that their loss to Chennai in the previous encounter will have no effect on his players when they face Chennaiyin for the second time in the season.

"I don't think it will play on our mind. Losing to Chennaiyin FC wasn't disastrous. Obviously, we want to win all games. Tomorrow, we need to be brave and try and get all three points," he said at the pre-match press conference.

Bengaluru FC have been enjoying a great debut season in the ISL. Roca’s men have adapted to the new league with ease and are looking like title contenders. The Spanish tactician, however, feels it's too early for such claims.

"It's not finished yet. First, we have to finish all our games, perhaps we can talk a little about it and even then we also have to go through playoffs. At the moment it's a pack of six teams looking to get into top four. So the first goal is to be in top four. If we take all three points tomorrow, we'll be close," he concluded.

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Chennaiyin FC 1-0 Bengaluru FC

Key Players

Jeje Lalpekhlua (Chennaiyin FC)

The ‘Mizo Sniper’ has fired all cylinders in the league this season. Strong and opportunistic, Jeje also possesses clinical finishing skills combined with his deft touch of the ball. A striker who carves openings in any odd defence, he already has seven goals to his credit this season and will look to add to that tally in a tough encounter.

Edu Garcia (Bengaluru FC)

The Spaniard has been the Blues’ go-to man in the middle of the park. He has shown great attacking flair while coming up with defining passes as well in every game. An expert at taking set-pieces, Garcia has a goal and five assists to his name this season and will want to create a major impact in the game at Chennai.

Probable Lineups

Chennaiyin FC

John Gregory may go forward with the same 4-2-3-1 formation, which has yielded rich dividends in the past for his team.

Goalkeeper: Karanjit Singh

Defenders: Inigo Calderon, Mailson Alves, Henrique Sereno, Jerry Lalrinzuala

Midfielders: Dhanpal Ganesh, Anirudh Thapa, Thoi Singh, Rene Mihelic, Gregory Nelson

Forward: Jeje Lalpekhlua

Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory on everyone contributing to scoring: “Everyone else has chipped in with goals. If we expect Jeje to score in every game, that would be a big burden for him to shoulder. So, I am delighted that everyone is contributing this season.”

Bengaluru FC

Albert Roca will probably go for a 4-1-4-1 formation, which relies heavily on their midfield and flanks for proper service to the striker.

Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh

Defenders: Harmanjot Khabra, John Johnson, Juanan, Subhasish Bose

Midfielders: Lenny Rodrigues, Edu Garcia, Erik Paartalu, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh

Forward: Miku 

Bengaluru head coach Albert Roca on the importance of everyone contributing towards scoring: “For me, it does not matter who scores. But I like it when the strikers score because it means they are doing their job. It makes things complicated when you always demand goals from strikers. So, it is important for the teammates to contribute, and give back-up from behind (and) give crosses so that the team functions as a whole."

Key Stats

  • Bengaluru FC are yet to draw a match in the Hero ISL this season
  • Chennaiyin FC has the least number of defeats in the league (3)

Last Encounter

Bengaluru FC 1-2 Chennaiyin FC (17th December 2017 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru)

Form Guide (Last five matches)

Bengaluru FC: W W W L W

Chennaiyin FC: W L W D W


Published: Mon Feb 05, 2018 09:51 PM IST



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