Bengaluru FC will open their Indian Super League title defence against North East United (NE United) with the second game of the Indian Super League Season 2 at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, the home ground of the Sunil Chhetri-led team.
With a majority of the Indian national team, including skipper Sunil Chhetri in their ranks, hosts Bengaluru FC start first favourites against the new-look NE United on both present strength and past record.
In spite of getting Manuel Onwu, Spanish Osasuna striker, as a replacement for Chhetri’s trusted lieutenant Miku upfront, Bengaluru might find a key link missing in their attack. Venezuelan Miku and Chhetri in tandem have netted 47 goals in the last two seasons. There is no dearth of options though.
NE United FC will be starting the season with a new coach Robert Jarni after having lost Eelco Schattorie, who has also taken star striker Bartholomew Ogbeche along to Kerala Blasters.
Former Real Madrid defender Jarni, however, exudes confidence ahead of their season opener. “Bengaluru FC have made some changes from last season. Also, we have a different coach and some new players. This will be a different game. We believe that we can do something good against them. We are confident and we will try to bring the three points,” the coach has stated as the team prepared for the challenge ahead.
Jarni at his disposal will have an all-fit squad with the liberty of fielding any players he deems right for the eleven and substitutions.
The second game of the ISL Season 6 will start from 7:30 pm today (Monday) at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium at Bangaluru.
Hosts Bengaluru FC have been synonymous with consistency in India domestic football history. After three years of success in the I-League, they joined ISL in 2017 and made an instant impact, adds PTI.
Guided by Spanish coach Roca, they put up a splendid show in their first season and topped the league phase standings though they suffered a heartbreaking loss in the final to Chennaiyin FC at home.
With an all-Indian attacking line-up of Chhetri, Udanta Singh and now Kuruniyan, the defending champions look formidable on paper.
Beangaluru FC registered a come-from-behind win against NorthEast United in the two-legged playoff en route the final last season. But it might not be that easy for the home side to beat NorthEast United today (Monday).
Despite the departure of some key players of the previous season, NorthEast United have made some big signing, including high profile Ghanaian Asamoah Gyan.
Bengaluru head coach Cuadrat said it’s “strange” that none of the teams have been able to retain their title in the ISL.
“I tell my players to be competitive so that we can reach the play-offs. No team has won it twice. It is a strange thing. It’s not our job to defend the title but right now (the job is) to reach the play-offs. After that we will do our best to win the title,” said the Spaniard.
“NorthEast United is a completely different team with a different coach. It is going to be a tough game for us. We have no idea about what NorthEast is going to offer. They have made some good signings like Asamoah Gyan.”
On the other hand, NorthEast United’s new head coach Jarni is also confident of a winning start at the Sree Kanteerava stadium. “This will be a different game. We believe that we can do something good against them. We are confident and we will try to bring the three points,” he said.