Bengaluru FC will look to infuse fresh life into what has been a pedestrian start to its Indian Super League campaign, when it meets defending champion Mumbai City FC at the Bambolim stadium on Saturday.
After a positive start against NorthEast United FC, Marco Pezzaiuoli’s side has been middling at best, losing 1-3 to Odisha FC and managing a dull 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters.
These are still early days, with just three games done, but another disjointed effort can call into question some of the new coach’s methods and performances of a few senior pros.
“We analysed our last game and we deserved to win it, in terms of our pressing, counter-pressing and ball possession,” Pezzaiuoli insisted on Friday. “The next step is to find the path to the opposition goal. We couldn’t do that because the opponent was organised with many people behind the ball.”
One can be rest assured that Mumbai City will be more adventurous than the Blasters. After a 1-3 loss to Hyderabad FC, the Des Buckingham-coached outfit was brilliant in its 5-1 demolition of ATK Mohun Bagan.
Vikram Pratap Singh and Bipin Singh were irresistible on the flanks, while forwards Igor Angulo and Cassio Gabriel constantly threatened through the middle.
Against NEUFC in the first match, BFC’s defence struggled against a similar kind of threat, and will now need to be doubly wary of Mumbai City’s impressive attack.
“Mumbai is very good at transitions and we need to be careful to not lose balls in our half,” Pezzaiuoli said. “We should be tough in the duels and need to be good in front of the defence. They have good players there like Apuia. I think, the game will be decided there.”
But in the defeat to Hyderabad, the Mumbai backline was found lacking, a fact the BFC coach pointed to in his pre-match briefing. Both Mourtada Fall and Rahul Bheke have had trouble dealing with balls played behind them, with their back-pedalling skills from a high press position, suspect.
“BFC have got some very good players, play a very good style of football and if we don’t prepare ourselves as well as we need to, they will cause us problems,” Buckingham said. “They’re coached very well and have some excellent players within the system.”
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