Bengaluru FC will look to build on what has been an impressive charge to a spot in the play-offs of the Indian Super League, when they take on second-placed Mumbai City FC at the Mumbai Football Arena, in Mumbai, on Sunday. Unbeaten in the League this season, the trip to Mumbai marks the first of seven games that Carles Cuadrat’s Blues will play over a thirty-day period. And the Spaniard believes his boys will have their task cut out against the Jorge Costa-coached side if the 1-1 draw they played out in December at the Kanteerava, is anything to go by.
“We’ve passed the half-way stage of the season and it is with good reason that Mumbai are in second position on the table. But like always, we will be spending more time on how we can do things better to counter the threat that the opposition will bring,” said Cuadrat ahead of the game.
Bengaluru have been hard done by injuries to key players through the campaign and the woes haven’t seemed to cease with Nishu Kumar (knee) joining the dreaded list. The versatile defender had to be substituted in the first half of the game against ATK in December and has been on the road to recovery since then. Unfortunately, Rino Anto who was Nishu’s replacement in the game too hobbled off and will be a late decision.
“Yes, we have had our fair share of misfortune this season with regard to injuries, but that’s how it is. We have been finding ways around it so far and might have to keep doing it a little longer,” said Cuadrat.
While Bengaluru have been impeccable so far in the season, Mumbai are on a club record run of their own, having gone unbeaten in their last eight games since a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of FC Goa in October last year. Senegalese striker Modou Sougou – who with nine goals is second in the race for the golden boot – and Arnold Issoko have been the pick of the performers for Mumbai, as has ’keeper Amrinder Singh with five clean sheets this season.
The Blues have relied on grit and tenacity to eke out results and Cuadrat will be hoping for more of that as the battle for play-off spots looks to get more intense. Bengaluru are three points clear of Mumbai with a game in hand and are seven points clear of Goa and NorthEast United who sit in third and fourth positions respectively.