ISL 2020-21: Bengaluru FC renew heated rivalry with Chennaiyin FC as Carles Cuadrat’s men hunt for first win


Bambolim: Bengaluru FC would look to secure their first win of the season when they take on southern rivals Chennaiyin FC in an Indian Super League match at the GMC Athletic Stadium on Friday.

Both the teams have played twice so far, with BFC winless following consecutive stalemates, while CFC registering a victory and draw.

There are problems aplenty for Bengaluru, who are struggling to find the attacking impetus that they have never been short of in the previous seasons.

The former champions have attempted just 12 shots in their two games and got only three of them on target, the least by any team in the league so far in both respects. Front-three of Sunil Chhetri, Cleiton Silva and Kristian Opseth have failed to fire so far.

Bengaluru coach Carles Cuadrat, however, looked to count on the positives.

“The team has been showing a lot of consistency with very clear patterns in the way we play, in our defensive structure. I think that we had a moment in the Goa game where we suffered a little bit. That is where the other team scored,” he said.

“For the rest of the game, we controlled the other team’s attack really well and it was the same against Hyderabad. The opposition was not creating chances in both games.

“We all know that we have to improve, the way we arrive in the other box. And we are working on that.”

Two-time champions Chennaiyin FC were dealt a blow with head coach Csaba Laszlo confirming that left-back Jerry Lalrinzuala will start on Friday in place of Chhuantea Fanai, who was substituted in the previous game against Kerala Blasters due to injury.

The fixture between Chennaiyin and Bengaluru has become a huge rivalry since BFC entered the ISL fold in 2017. The final that season was a closely contested affair that CFC won 3-2 on Bengaluru”s turf to lift a second ISL title.

In the head-to-head battle, both the clubs have won three apiece with one draw being played out last season.

It promises to be yet another intense contest, as the likes of Anirudh Thapa, Rafael Crivellaro and Lallianzuala Chhangte look to build on a solid start to the season, aiming to make it two wins out of three.

Chennaiyin’s forward line will be looking to make amends against BFC, having failed to score against KBFC last time out.

Striker Jakub Sylvestr especially will want to put his penalty miss behind him and bounce back strongly. At the same time, goalkeeper Vishal Kaith and Co will be hoping to add to a first clean sheet of the season.

“It is a special game and also like a derby for us. We want to win and will do everything possible to win this game,” CFC head coach Csaba Laszlo said.

“If we could collect the three points, we could stabilise our position in the table.”

Talking about the experience of playing in empty stadium, CFC midfielder and vice-captain Anirudh Thapa said: “It is really different and less fun. It was an amazing feeling, the electrifying stadium with the fans in full voice but we know that they are watching us so obviously we need to give our best.”

Times2 Desk
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