Kerala Blasters will be desperate for its first win of the 2021-22 Indian Super League campaign while Bengaluru FC will look to steady things after a stuttering start when the two sides meet at the Bambolim Stadium on Sunday.
Blasters, who opened with a 2-4 defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan, looked set to secure its first victory when it played NorthEast United FC, but ended up with a goalless draw because of its profligacy in front of goal.
BFC, after a positive start against NEUFC, was beaten 3-1 by Odisha FC in its last game, giving coach Marco Pezzaiuoli a reality check. Not just that, BFC will miss the services of Jayesh Rane, a bright spot for the club since his arrival in late July, owing to the concussion he suffered against Odisha.
Pezzaiuoli, though, insisted that his team was on the right track. “Our second game was still good,” he said. “Our group defence was good. There were just individual mistakes.”
“We dominated the match and played better with the ball than we did against NorthEast. We had 60 per cent possession but we need to arrive behind the opponent backline faster and create more chances,” he added.
For the Blasters, converting chances and not creating, has proved the Achilles heel. Argentinian forward Jorge Pereyra Diaz and midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad both missed gilt-edged chances to score against NEUFC. Rahul K.P, who scored in both matches against BFC last season, will be sorely missed.
But midfielder Adrian Luna has impressed in a creative role, triggering belief that good times are indeed round the corner.
“We are very positive in the dressing room,” said Harmanjot Khabra, formerly of BFC, now with Blasters. “I feel like there is nothing that has changed as to what I have been faced with in other dressing rooms. So, everything is good [and] all the players are in good mood and they know their responsibilities.”
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