BFC look to seize early advantage

ALL SET Sunil Chhetri leads the BFC players through a training session in Guwahati on Wednesday. BFC media

Bengaluru FC will look to seize the advantage early as they take on NorthEast United FC in the first leg of the Indian Super League semifinal at the Indira Gandhi Stadium here on Thursday.

Carles Cuadrat’s men find themselves at this stage of the competition for the second year running and it will be all about three good games from here, according to the coach.

In their two matches this season, BFC have won one match while drawing the other. A late goal from Chencho Gyeltshen helped them snatch a draw in Guwahati, in December. The Bhutanese winger, who is currently on loan to NEROCA FC, was on the scoresheet again when Bengaluru claimed a 2-1 win against the Highlanders in the reverse fixture.

Bengaluru haven’t won on the road since the turn of the year, but Cuadrat dismissed suggestions that the team is in bad form.

The Blues will be without the services of defender Gursimrat Singh Gill, who picked up a suspension in the final league game against Jamshedpur FC, and Erik Paartalu, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

NorthEast, meanwhile, will be without central defender Gurwinder Singh through suspension but will welcome back Colombian midfielder Jose Leudo who returns to the fold after serving a one-game suspension for a red card against FC Pune City. 

Bengaluru will be buoyed by their record in semifinal clashes, having progressed to the final each of the four times in domestic competitions. While the Blues claimed a 3-1 aggregate win over FC Pune City to reach the final last season, NorthEast are in their maiden ISL semifinal.

Schattorie’s side have conceded the least number of goals (18) in the league phase, and have been reliant on strikers Bartholomew Ogbeche and Federico Gallego, who have 16 goals between them. The Blues will have to be wary of Gallego especially, who scored both of NorthEast’s goals when the two sides met in the league stage.

 

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BFC look to seize early advantage

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