Bengaluru FC Head Coach Marco Pezzaiuoli said his side would be up for their toughest challenge yet this season when they face Kerala Blasters at the GMC Athletic Stadium, in Bambolim, on Sunday. Bengaluru, who went down 3-1 to Odisha in their previous encounter, find themselves in sixth place on the table with three points from two games, while Kerala Blasters sit in eighth position, and are yet to log their first win of the campaign.
“I’ve heard a lot about this game, the opponents and the tradition and culture behind this fixture. It’s going to be a tough match, but in football the most important thing is to score one more goal than the opponent. Kerala are a team that are very good in the duels, and this means that we will have to be sharp across the pitch. I feel Kerala will be our toughest opponents in the three games we would have played,” said Pezzaiuoli, speaking to the press on the eve of the game.
The Blasters, who began their campaign with a 4-2 loss to ATK Mohun Bagan, squandered several chances in their goalless draw against NorthEast United on Thursday. Blasters coach Ivan Vukomanovic will turn to summer signings Adrian Luna and Jorge Pereyra Diaz in an effort to breach the Bengaluru backline. Blasters earlier confirmed that winger Rahul KP will miss out due to injury, having left the team-bubble in Goa for further scans on his muscle injury.
On the injury front, Pezzaiuoli confirmed that winger Leon Augustine would miss out on a significant part of the season, with scans revealing ligament damage to his right ankle following a collision with Gurjinder Singh in Bengaluru’s opener against NorthEast United. Jayesh Rane has also been ruled out of the fixture on Sunday, having suffered a mild concussion against Odisha FC.
“It’s unfortunate, but Leon will be out for 5-6 weeks because scans have shown that he has an injury to his ligaments. Jayesh will also not be available because he had blacked out in the previous match after a head injury, and we don’t want to rush him back. There is also a case of stomach bug within the squad, which means some players are battling a fever and some others are weak. We will assess the situation and see who will be available for the game on Sunday.”
In the corresponding fixture last year, Bengaluru ran out 4-2 winners through goals from Cleiton Silva, Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado and Sunil Chhetri at the JN Stadium, in Fatorda.
Kick off at the GMC Stadium between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters has been scheduled for 7.30 PM and will be telecast live on the STAR Sports Network, Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.