Carles Cuadrat said he hoped his side would shake things up and switch the momentum when Bengaluru FC host foes Chennaiyin FC on Sunday, in a fixture that often transcends form or standing on the points table. Yet, the two remain the only teams in the League to register a first win of the season, and the Kanteerava will provide the perfect setting to turn a corner.
Bengaluru have turned up with performances that deserve more points than they currently have on the board, but Cuadrat said he was drawing confidence from the number of chances his team have been creating. “This is how it works in football sometimes – you find yourself in one flow, and then have to do things to change that flow. We have been playing well, but have only one goal to show for it. In the game against Jamshedpur, Sunil, Juanan, Raphael, Manu, Ashique and Khabra – all had chances to score. It shows that we are team that possess a threat from all over the pitch, and that is encouraging. Our performances have been consistently good,” said Cuadrat, addressing the media on the eve of the game.
Chennaiyin, meanwhile, are eyeing a turnaround of their own. The side from the south are bottom-placed on the table with one point, and are yet to find the back of the net after three games. Cuadrat, however, refused to use form as an indicator for how he thinks the game will unfold.
“Chennaiyin have always been very tough opponents. We beat them 1-0 in the same fixture last season, but it was a very tough game. It needed the supporters in the stands to get us over the line, and I hope they do the same on Sunday,” said Cuadrat.
Defender Albert Serran, who came off early in the first half in the game against Jamshedpur with an injury, continues to recuperate and will be the only player Cuadrat will be without for Sunday’s game. Midfielder Erik Paartalu, who has made a complete recovery from an ankle injury that saw him miss the first three games of the Blues’ campaign, will be in the reckoning when Cuadrat ticks the names on his team sheet.
John Gregory’s side had a season to forget last year when they finished bottom on the pile with just nine points. The two-time ISL champions went through a massive transformation of the squad, one that saw them bring as many as six new foreign players. The English coach has dabbled with strikers Andre Schembri and Nerijus Valskis to start with in different games, and will be hoping that one of them turn up with the goods sooner than later.
The wings will offer an interesting sub-plot to the game with Udanta Singh coming up against Lallianzuala Chhangte in what will be a battle of sheer pace. Meanwhile, Edwin Vanspaul will have to contend with the speed that Ashique Kuruniyan possesses down the left. Bengaluru’s new signing has played in the left-back position, but has been given the license to bomb forward in attack.
Raphael Augusto, who has by far been one of Bengaluru’s top performers, signed with the Blues from Chennaiyin FC in the summer and it will be intriguing to watch the Brazilian go up against his former employers in a game that is sure to provide fireworks.
The game kicks off at 7.30 and will be televised on the Star Sports network and Hotstar.