Unbeaten Bengaluru back on home turf

Unbeaten Bengaluru back on home turf

Chhetri is all set to make 150th appearance for the club

All eyes will be on Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri when he makes his 150th appearance for the club against bottom-placed Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League on Monday. PTI file photo

Come Monday, talismanic Sunil Chhetri is all set to achieve a new milestone as he prepares to make his 150th appearance for Bengaluru FC. 

The Blues, looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season, will take on bottom-placed Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here.

The run-up to this game was overshadowed by the untimely demise of Sandalwood legend Ambareesh, which led to the pre-match press conferences, scheduled on Sunday, being cancelled.

Ahead of his landmark appearance, Chhetri was humble and revealed, "I wasn’t aware of the number until someone told me about it last week. I don’t really make much of landmarks and milestones but given how much I’ve travelled as a footballer, it feels nice to have played 150 games for one club across six seasons."

Bengaluru manager Carles Cuadrat hoped his skipper would make this occasion more special with a victory come matchday. "Sunil has been a tremendous influence on the club for the last six years and the fact that he is on the brink of his 150th appearance should tell you all you need to know about him. He is a fantastic person and professional and we’re all proud of what he has achieved," said the Spaniard.  

Cuadrat's men have completed the tough away phase with flying colours, picking up 12 points from four games, which included a fighting 2-1 win over toppers FC Goa.

A positive result against Delhi, who are yet to record a win this season, would send Bengaluru three points clear of Goa in the battle for pole position. Delhi took the honours 2-0 when the teams last met in January earlier this year. Although they are clearly the underdogs in this fixture, Cuadrat has no intentions of letting his guard down.

“Delhi are the only team to yet register a win and that’s what makes them a dangerous opposition. They will be trying harder than ever when they come up against us, and we need to enter this game by turning a blind eye to where both teams stand on the points table," the Spaniard said.

Bengaluru will miss the services of striker Miku, recuperating from an ankle injury, and midfielder Dimas Delgado, who was shown a straight red in a game against Goa. “Yes, these are key players who we will be missing, but the team showed against Goa that everyone is willing to put their hands up and take more responsibility," said Cuadrat, pleased with the attitude of players.

Eric Paartalu, who sat out that game, has resumed training and could make his comeback. Bhutanese forward Chencho Gyeltshen was impressive in his first start against Goa and is likely to keep his place up front. 

Delhi, on the other hand, have been plagued by defensive lapses. In the last game against Goa, Josep Gombau's side twice conceded their advantage to lose 2-3.

Hoping to put an end to their miserable run, Delhi will be out looking for a renaissance but overcoming an in-form Bengaluru, at home, will a different challenge altogether.