Bengaluru FC will host NorthEast United in the Indian Super League on Monday, 21st October. The match will kick off at 7.30 pm local time.
India Bet Highlights
- Bengaluru are the most successful club in the history of the Indian Super League (ISL), having won the tournament in 2013 – 2014, and 2015 – 2016, and been runners-up in 2017 – 2018.
- They are also the defending champions, having beaten Goa 1 – 0 in last season’s final.
- NorthEast United have a new manager this season in the form of Croatian Robert Jarri, replacing Eelco Schattorie who has moved to the Kerala Blasters.
- The last time these two sides met was in the play-offs in March, with Bengaluru winning 4 – 2 on aggregate. NorthEast won the home leg 2 -1, but went down 3 – 0 in the away tie.
Bengaluru start favourites to win the ISL Super League again. They are widely regarded as having the best coach in the form of Spaniard Carles Cuadrat, and in tactics and strategy they are ahead of their rivals, employing a Spanish style of possession-based football thanks to Cuadrat, who came through the Barcelona youth system.
They are regarded as having the league’s best goalkeeper in Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, whilst Rahul Bheke and Albert Serran are very effective defenders. Their midfield offers creativity, particularly Udante Kuman, and Ashique Kuruniyan, whilst upfront they boast the talents of current Indian captain Sunil Chhetri.
Their biggest problem they potentially face comes because Venezuelan striker Miku, who scored the majority of their goals last season, has now departed the club to join the Cypriot side Omonia. In his place, they have signed Kuriniyan from FC Pune City for €88,000, and they will be hoping he can form an effective partnership with Chhetri upfront.
Other new arrivals at the club are Prabhsukhan Singh and Suresh Wangjam (from Indian Arrows), Manuel Onwu (from CAM Murcia), Etgenson Lyngdoh (from ATK), and Raphael Augusto (from Chennaiyin).
NorthEast not only lost coach Schattorie in the close season, but also one of their biggest stars in the form of Bartholomew Ogbeche, who followed him to Kerala Blasters. However, they have signed former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan, the Ghana international who is best remembered as the man who missed the penalty that would have taken his country through to the World Cup final in 2010. He joins an all foreign forward line, with the experienced Argentine Maximiliano Barreiro, and the pacy young Uruguayan Martin Cháves, set to start alongside him. NorthEast hope that the three can help improve on their tally of just 21 goals last season.
One area of concern for the team is their defence, which conceded 18 goals last season, and new coach Jarri will be looking to strengthen that area of the team. However, they are vulnerable in the event that either of their two foreign players, Mislav Komorski or Kai Heerings, get injured, because they lack quality local replacements. And by choosing to concentrate their foreign resources up front and in defence, they lack strength in midfield.
Bengaluru will be looking to get off to a strong start in defence of their league title. The last campaign they usually beat opponents with ease, particularly at home, and will be hoping that their new look forward line can click immediately. Northeast will also be expecting much from their strikers, but do not have the same strength as their opponents in midfield or defence. Bengaluru put three past them in the home leg of last season’s play-offs, and will be hoping for an equally comfortable win this time round.