Stuttering Bengaluru FC hosts high-flying Odisha

Odisha FC, on a four-match winning streak that has catapulted it to fourth in the table, can go past Bengaluru FC with a win on Wednesday.

Bengaluru FC comes into the game following a 2-0 loss to Mumbai City FC.   -  Special Arrangement

A stuttering Bengaluru FC will face a stiff challenge from the high-flying Odisha FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday. The reigning Indian Super League champion is coming off a 2-0 defeat away to Mumbai City FC, the same opponent which snapped BFC’s unbeaten home run of nearly two years, last month.

On the other hand, Josep Gombau’s Odisha, powered by Aridane Santana’s league-topping nine goals, is on a four-match winning streak that has catapulted the side to fourth in the table with 21 points. Odisha will miss the midfield duo of Vinit Rai (suspension) and Nandhakumar Sekar (hamstring injury), both sure-shot starters, but will certainly fancy a win that can help it surge past BFC (22 points).

“Four wins in four is good,” said Gombau on the eve of the match. “But BFC are a top team, one of the best in the competition. If they score first, it is difficult to come back as they don’t concede many goals.”

"They [BFC] are playing a bit more directly than before. Last year I saw a lot more combinations. But it is important not to change our game plan, not to think that we are playing away and be brave to play out from the back. One thing we should ensure is to not give away silly set-pieces.”

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Aridane Santana will have his work cut out against a strong Bengaluru FC defence.   -  ISL Media

 

BFC head coach Carles Cuadrat conceded that his outfit may not have the lion’s share of the ball. Raphael Augusto’s midfield creativity will be missed for the fourth straight game because of a knee injury. But Cuadrat was confident that his wards were well equipped to hurt opponents.

“We may end up having less possession, but at the same time we play the transitions well and can take advantage of situations like set-pieces,” said the Catalan.

“We only have 15 points to play [for the rest of the season]. Odisha is coming off a good performance. [But] we have also had very good performances at home. We lost only to Mumbai. Rest of the matches we have been very intense and we will fight for three points again.”

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