Super Cup: Bagan, Bengaluru renew rivalry in last four meet

During Bengaluru's four years in the I-League, clashes between these two sides were considered to be on the same scale as the Kolkata Derby and Tuesday's clash is the perfect setting to renew the rivalry.

Bengaluru FC players in a training session ahead of Tuesday's Super Cup encounter against Mohun Bagan.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan will once again take center-stage on a new footing when the two sides face off in the semifinal of the Super Cup here on Tuesday.

A lot has happened since they last met in the Federation Cup final a little less than a year ago. Bengaluru moved to the Indian Super League for pastures new, while Mohun Bagan has a new man at the helm.

In that time, the Mariners once again failed to land the I-League trophy, whereas BFC, under Albert Roca, has emerged as the side to beat in Indian football.

Getting one over Bengaluru will be a daunting task for Bagan as the former has lost just once in 20 matches since January 14 - a run of 16 wins and three draws during that period. Much has been down to the attacking trio of Miku, Udanta Singh, and skipper Sunil Chhetri. Chhetri, who scored a hat-trick to take the Blues into the last four stage, will be relishing the prospect of taking on his former employer.

Udanta has been the chief supplier for Chhetri and Miku as the duo has profited with 17 and 16 goals, respectively, during the season. Bagan will be keen to cut out the supply to the tricky winger, who is a threat on the right channel. Ex-Bengaluru man Cameron Watson and Yuta Kinowaki will be in charge of carrying out the duty.

While the focus will be on BFC's attack, Bagan has ammunition of its own to spring a surprise. Striker Aser Pierrick Dipanda Dicka has flourished in partnership with January signing Akram Moghrabi. Dicka has 11 goals in 13 matches since Shankarlal Chakraborty took charge. Young Indian wingers Sheikh Faiaz and Nikhil Kadam have also stood out and the pair will be closely marked by Bengaluru's defenders.

Roca might line his side up in a 3-4-1-2 formation to counter Bagan's attack, with Harmonjot Khabra coming in place of the injured Rahul Bheke, before switching to a 4-2-3-1 in possession of the ball.

During Bengaluru's four years in the I-League, clashes between these two sides were considered to be on the same scale as the Kolkata Derby. Kalinga Stadium will offer the perfect setting for them to renew the rivalry.

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