Bengaluru FC will look to set aside the disappointment of a first defeat this season and continue their charge in the Indian Super League when they host third-placed NorthEast United FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.
Carles Cuadrat’s men found themselves on the wrong end of a one-nil scoreline away in Mumbai on Sunday and the Spaniard felt there was nothing better than a quick next fixture at home, to brush off the loss. “Things didn’t work the way we planned it on the night in Mumbai, but we have a big game on Wednesday which has all our attention. NorthEast United have been one of the better teams this season and we played a hard-fought game against them in Guwahati before the season took a break. We will need to have our guard up throughout the game,” said Cuadrat on the eve of the fixture.
NorthEast needed a late strike from Bartholomew Ogbeche – who, with 10 goals is the tournament’s joint top scorer – to beat Chennaiyin FC on Saturday and move to third on the table. And Bengaluru will do well to make notes on containing the striker who gets ample support from a creative midfield.
When asked if the goals drying up for Bengaluru had him worried, Cuadrat opined otherwise. “In five games that Miku was part of, we scored ten goals. And in the seven that hasn’t played, we’ve scored eight times, so we’ve done fairly well.” The Bengaluru boss also confirmed that the Venezuelan striker and defender Nishu Kumar – both of who are recovering from injuries – will not play in a part in Wednesday’s fixture. However, Rino Anto is fit and will be available for selection. “It’s not the most ideal situation, but what it does is it lets us work harder and come up with new ways to tackle situations. And that will hold us in good stead ahead in the tournament.”
Cuadrat rolled out a 4-3-3 against Mumbai City with Xisco Hernandez playing the false nine and he said Bengaluru’s position on the table lets the team try things without the fear of failing. “We have done a lot of things correctly in the first phase of the season and we are on second position with a game in hand. The unbeaten run was great but you don’t get prizes for these things. We will keep playing the way we know how to and I’m sure the results and the table will take care of itself,” said Cuadrat.
NorthEast United have used the break to bring in two players in defender Shouvik Ghosh from Mumbai City FC, while Greek forward Panagiotis Triadis replaces Ghana winger Augustine Okrah.
The game kicks off at 7.30 pm and will be telecast live on the STAR Sports network, HotStar and JioTV.