Bengaluru will take on Bengal in Indian Football League on Saturday night to find a comeback win of the season as they suffered three straight defeats.
Match Timings: Jan 09, 7:30 PM IST
Bengaluru will play its first match without its head coach Carlos Cuadrat who was sacked after the defeat against Mumbai. It was the third consecutive defeat for Cuadrat’s side and Bengaluru slipped out of the playoff positions. The early positive start retained its hope as they take the fifth spot in the table. Bengaluru lost the match in the first half and goals from Mourtada Fall and Bipin Singh made all the difference.
Mumbai took the lead in the 9th minutes through Mourtada’s strike through a Bipin Singh corner-kick. Bipin Singh got better of Sandhu in the 15th minute to make the lead double through the terrific cross from Mandar Rao Dessai. Mumbai continued its dominance and Bengaluru gave easy sitters to their attack. In the 62nd minute, Cleiton Silva and Kristian Opseth set up a chance for the skipper Sunil Chhetri but Bengaluru couldn’t avail of this. After 17 minutes, Chhetri scored the only goal for Bengaluru through a penalty. The poor goalkeeping continued for Gurpreet Singh as substitute Bartholomew Ogbeche scored the third goal for Mumbai from a corner-kick. Carles Cuadrat’s defensive approach put the Blues in trouble. He made a couple of changes but it couldn’t create a big difference. Naushad Moosa, assistant to Cuadrat may take the head coach role. He has been a part of Bengaluru’s coaching team for four years. Bengaluru desperately needs a win here and even they cannot digest a draw. The second half of the season will haunt them if they drop three more points here.
Meanwhile, Bengal overcame its issues and avoided back-to-back defeats. They earned its first victory of the season and remained undefeated from the last four matches. They settled for a 1-1 draw with Goa in the previous game. Goa dominated the game and got the early chances. Debijit Majumadar saved a cracking header from James Donachie which came through a free-kick from Brandon Fernandes. Aaron Amadi-Holloway got a chance for the Gold and Reds but he missed a header from Narayan Das’ superb free-kick. After a goalless first half, the game was heading towards a draw. Danny Fox got a red card but 10-men Bengal took the lead through Bright Enobakhare. The Nigerian forward went past Princeton Rebello, Aiban Dohling, Ivan Gonzalez, and Saviour Gama to sent the ball past goalkeeper Mohammed Nawaz to score the finest goal of the season in the 79th minute. Equaliser didn’t wait for long as Devendra Murgaonkar scored for Goa two minutes later. Goalkeeper Debjit Majumder came out as a survivor for Bengal. Goa had six shots on target and Goa missed out all in the first half. Red and Golds could have lost this match but Majumder made stunning saves. Danny Fox will be the only absentee for the Kolkata giants due to a one-match suspension.
Bengaluru and Bengal had previously met each other in I-League on eight occasions. The Gold and Reds have won five and lost three against the Blues. Bengal have also won the last two meetings between the two sides. Bengaluru looked better in Indian Football League but Bengal has improved a lot in its form so this game is going to be a cracking contest.
Possible Lineups & Current Form
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; Juanan, Pratik Chaudhari, Rahul Bheke, Harmanjot Khabra, Suresh Wangjam, Cleiton Silva, Dimas Delgado, Sunil Chhetri, Kristian Opseth, Deshorn Brown
Current form: L L L W W
Previous match: 3-1 defeat to Mumbai
Debjit Majumder; Scott Neville, Raju Gaikwad, Ankit Mukherjee, Matti Steinmann, Milan Singh, Narayan Das, Harmanpreet Singh, Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Bright Enobakhare
Current form: D W D D L
Previous match: 1-1 draw with Goa
4 goals & 1 assist in Indian Football League 2020-21
3 goals & 1 assist in Indian Football League 2020-21
2 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
2 goals & 2 assists in Indian Football League 2020-21