Bengaluru will go head to head with Northeast in Indian Football League to find the much-needed victory on Tuesday night. Both sides are coming off a big downfall after an impressive start to the season.
Match Timings: Jan 12, 7:30 PM IST
At the current scenario, Northeast and Bengaluru are both on the same boat. Both clubs have been poor for the last two-three weeks, and their downfall pushed their playoff chances behind. Before Christmas break, both were in the top four, and now, they moved to the middle of the table. Northeast’s campaign started on a high note when they defeated hot favourites Mumbai and remained unbeaten in the first six matches. In the last four matches, Highlanders suffered three defeats and conceded nine goals. Odisha held them for a 2-2 draw, so it’s not a good thing happening to Northeast when the second half of the tournament will start. In the previous encounter, Hyderabad thrashed them 4-2 to offer a second consecutive defeat to Highlanders.
The first half was intense, and both teams canceled out each other with two goals each. Hyderabad started on a high note, and Joel Chianese set up a goal for Aridane Santana. Luis Machado looked solid, but he couldn’t get support. Highlanders dominated few minutes before the cooling break, but after then, Joel Chianese found himself on the scoresheet in the 36th minute. When the first half was heading towards Hyderabad, Halicharan Narzary conceded a penalty, and Federico Gallego scored the first goal for Northeast. Benjamin Lambot came with equaliser in stoppage time to end the first half 2-2. In the second-half, Laxmikant Kattimani got the better of Luis Machado and stopped him from striking. The match was going towards a draw, but substitute Liston Colaco turned things around by scoring a brace in the 85th minute and injury time. These two goals scripted Hyderabad a 4-2 win.
Gerard Nus is making too many experiments in team combination. He has changed his playing XI for every game during this season, which hasn’t offered much to the side. This attitude has led the Northeast to retain the momentum. He decided to substitute Machado when he was in prime form. Such intent has let down Highlanders, and they slipped at the final moment.
Meanwhile, Bengaluru is suffering from different issues. Bengal handed over the fourth consecutive defeat to Blues under the interim head coach. The management looks problematic with every match and the downfall in the previous three weeks created a mess for the Blues. It was the first time in history when Blues have suffered four straight defeats. Bengaluru is now sitting in the middle of the table, and they need one confidence-boosting victory to better its position.
In the previous game, they looked pretty low in the field, and Bengal started the scoring through a Matti Steinmann flick from a Narayan Das cross. The first half ended in favour of Bengal with a one-goal advantage. Bengaluru fought hard to get equaliser, but they got nothing. Naushad Moosa’s first match as the interim manager didn’t deliver happiness to Blues. Moosa was Carles Cuadrat's assistant manager before, and the approach was quite similar. The Indian forward line had the pressure, and now, the situation is tougher for the Blues. Cleiton Silva, Sunil Chhetri, and Kristian Opseth took charge in crunch time, but Bengaluru haven’t played a brand of football in the second half. Overall, Bengaluru have an edge over the Highlanders in Indian Football League. Blues have lost once and won five in nine meetings between two sides. The previous two matches between both sides have ended in a draw. The Highlanders' only win came in the 2018-19 semifinal when Northeast took the first leg game 2-1.
Possible Lineups & Current Form
Subhasish Roy; Gurjinder Kumar, Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Mashoor Shereef, Khassa Camara, Federico Gallego, Lalrempuia Fanai, Idrissa Sylla, Suhair Vadakkepeedika, Luis Machado
Current form: L L D L D
Previous match: 4-2 defeat to Hyderabad
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:1-0 loss to Bengal
2 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
2 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
4 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
3 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21