Table-toppers Bengaluru FC lock horns with lowly Kerala Blasters
Written by: Ajay A K
The Blues will be looking to register another win to consolidate their position at the top of the standings.
The Southern powerhouses face each other in a crucial clash in Bengaluru. Bengaluru FC are sitting pretty on the top of the table, while the Yellow Brigade are clinging on to their faint playoff chances. Kerala Blasters will be looking to register their first ever win under Nelo Vingada, while Carles Cuadrat will push his side to increase their lead at the top of the table.
Carles Cuadrat (Bengaluru FC)
Spanish midfielder Luisma Villa was signed by Bengaluru recently. With manpower needed in the striking department, it was surprising that The Blues went for a midfielder. “We saw the options in the market. We felt that he was the best player for the kind of work we are going to demand from him. We have Miku getting back. Luisma is the kind of player that can help us,” Carles Cuadrat explained.
The competitive nature of the Spaniard’s side has been exemplary. “One of the reasons, I am coaching the team, because, at the moment of taking the decision, I saw clearly that the team was very competitive. It is a present for a coach to have a team so competitive. It is the spirit they have. Even in training, they want to win. We are working to become champions,“ he stated.
He continued on the importance of having a winning mentality. “I have listened to a lot of coaches who have been saying that we have been playing very well. But, in the end, we have been getting points in almost all the games. We have been winning more than the rest of the teams. We have had a lot of foreigner problems and still, the players have been giving everything for the team. It is something that the supporters appreciate.”
Compared to last season, Benagluru have been more solid defensively this time around. “We are putting more intensity in defence. I am very happy with the work of Sunil (Chhetri) and Udanta (Singh). They are helping a lot in defence. They are also giving a lot in attack. Albert (Serran) has also been helping a lot in terms of the backline. In the beginning, we had some problems with Rahul (Bheke) and Nishu (Kumar) to adjust the lines, but once they understood the job they have been fantastic,” he said commenting on the improvement of the back four..
He also talked about how refereeing could be improved in the ISL. “It is difficult because they have a lot of pressure. There are things that they need some help with. I think Indian football should bring some international referees to support them," the gaffer concluded.
Watch: Highlights of Kerala Blasters Vs Bengaluru FC
Nelo Vingada (Kerala Blasters)
The Kerala Blasters tactician started with the importance of the coming game. “For me, to be honest, I look forward only to the next match. The next match is always the most important and difficult one. The past is done. I have to understand, I have to know what was wrong and need to become better and better each time,“ he asserted.
Despite a well-played draw against ATK, the Blasters succumbed to Delhi. “The most important thing now is to recover the confidence. The game against ATK was good, maybe better than what I was expecting. We created very good chances, the attitude was very positive. But, in the second game, we came two steps back. We need to recover this positive attitude, to get back on the field and to fight. I’m very positive. With these players, we have to play better and I will try to find a good team with good balance,” the Professor explained.
Miku is unlikely to start the game for The Blues due to injury.
Lalruaththara is suspended for the game. Anas Edathodika also looks unlikely to start due to injury.
Sandhu, Anto, Juanan, Serran, Bheke, Paartalu, Khabra, Udanta, Xisco, Delgado, Chhetri.
Dheeraj, Rakip, Kali, Jhingan, Lakic-Pesic, Krcmarevic, Sahal, Stojanovic, Prasanth, Doungel, Poplatnik.
Did You Know?
- Kerala Blasters are yet to register a single point against The Blues. Bengaluru have won all the three head-to-head meetings between the sides.
- The last time the two sides met in Bengaluru, the home side won 2-0, thanks to two late injury-time goals from Miku and Udanta.
- Gurpreet Singh Sandhu currently leads the race for the Golden Glove with 117 minutes per goal conceded.
The match will take place on Wednesday at 7:30 pm at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. On television, the match will be broadcast live on the Star Sports Network. Meanwhile, it will also be streamed on Hotstar and Jio TV.
Published: Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:01 AM IST