ISL: Resurgent Bengaluru FC look to cut gap on table-toppers Hyderabad FC

BAMBOLIM: A chance to close the gap on leaders Hyderabad FC will motivate Bengaluru FC when the two teams square off in an Indian Super League (ISL) match here on Friday.
Bengaluru are on a nine-game unbeaten run, having turned around a poor start to the season in some style as they are placed third with 23 points from 15 matches.
A win against leaders Hyderabad will see them go level on points with their southern rivals, and that should keep Marco Pezzaouli’s charges on their toes.
Hyderabad failed to consolidate their lead at the top after a narrow defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan, leaving Kerala Blasters FC with a golden opportunity to reclaim pole position as they have two games in hand as compared to Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
Kerala are placed second with 23 points from 13 outings.
“We’re looking at ourselves, because we’re unbeaten in nine games. We’ve won our last few games, and we’re in a better condition after quarantine. We got ten points from the last four games, which has been a good return,” said Pezzaouli.
On Hyderabad, he said: “They lost their last game, which is an important point, because it helps us spot some weaknesses. We need to be very compact. They are a very good team in transition, fast players in the offensive areas and Ogbeche is the man in the box, so we need to avoid counters.”
The sub-plot to the match is also Bartholomew Ogbeche and Sunil Chhetri facing off. The two joint-highest goal scorers in ISL history will clash against each other as they battle to become the first player to reach the 50-goal milestone in the competition.
Both Chhetri and Ogbeche have scored 49 goals in the competition. Chhetri has scored 49 goals in 109 matches while Ogbeche has scored 49 goals in 71 matches. The game will also be a battle of some of the best-attacking fullbacks this season.
Roshan Singh Naorem and Akash Mishra have been a revelation in attack this season. Cumulatively, they have been involved in 12 goals for their teams this season.
Roshan has seven-goal contribution (1 goal + 6 assists) in his 13 matches while Akash has scored two goals with three assists. No defender has been involved in more goals in ISL 21-22 than these two.
For the Blues, Cleiton Silva getting back among goals also augurs well as they prepare for the final push in the business end of the season.
Brazilian forward Silva ended a four-game goalless streak as his brace helped Bengaluru come from behind to win 3-1 against Jamshedpur in their last game. —PTI

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.