BFC host new-look Mumbai

Football I-League: Bengaluru should be wary of Kashyap's side

BFC host new-look Mumbai

 In the past, whenever these two teams have met, off-the-pitch incidents have grabbed headlines.

A bottle thrown at the visiting dugout, their chief coach play-acting a head injury and then a handful of charged-up players rushing on to the stands to confront a hostile home crowd — the scenes still remain fresh in memory.

With this at the backdrop, Bengaluru FC once again welcome their nemesis Mumbai FC for the I-League tie at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday.

Both the teams come into this tie on the back of twin victories in as many matches in the league so far. While Bengaluru have been in fine form, notching up wins over Shillong Lajong (3-0) and Chennai City FC (2-0), the Mumbai outfit appear a different side under their new head coach Santosh Kashyap. They have recorded wins over DSK Shivajians (1-0) and Churchill Brothers (2-1). But a closer look would reveal that the reigning champions hold a slender advantage over the visitors.

In the two wins so far, Albert Roca’s men have been comfortable in maintaining possession for a long phase, thus nullifying any attacking threat from the opposition. Their defence has held its ground, while the midfield is slowly adapting to Roca’s philosophy of pass-and-move.

While they’ve also been successful in creating a number of goal scoring chances, it’s the conversion rate that should be an area of concern for Roca and his backroom staff. Against Chennai, Bengaluru had six shots on target, while just two found the back of the net. Against Lajong in the opening match, the number was 10 shots on target to just three goals. But with both Roby Norales and CK Vineeth expected to start after their heroics against Chennai last week, that number is expected to change.

The Mumbaikars too have come a long way in the manner in which they approach the game. If the opening two ties are something to by go, Mumbai no longer look like a side that play with a defensive mindset.

“I want to win every game I play,” said Kashyap making his intentions clear on the eve of their tie.

“I am a coach who loves to play attacking football and Bengaluru FC too like to come out and play and I’m sure we will have a very exciting game of football tomorrow,” he added.

Their primary weapon of attack is their counter offensives. With pacy wingers like Victorino Fernandes and Thoi Singh in their ranks, Mumbai could trouble the Bengaluru defence if given enough time and space with the ball.

Meanwhile, the visitors also have a handful of players who would look to impress as they return to Bengaluru for the first time since parting ways with the champions. Thoi Singh, Siam Hanghal, Shilton D’Silva and Karan Sawhney have become an integral part of the Mumbai set up, and it will be interesting to see how they turn up in a familiar setting.

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