Bengaluru FC will look to continue its unbeaten run in the ISL when it meets Mumbai City FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday. At stake will be more than just three points, as the reigning champion will want to rediscover its mojo in front of the goal.
While being stingy at the back -- BFC has conceded just two goals -- it has scored just seven, with only Chennaiyin FC worse off with five. It can certainly fancy its chances against a Mumbai defence, which has the second-worst record having leaked 13 goals.
“We are one of the teams with the best defensive aspects,” said BFC coach Carles Cuadrat. “[But] we are not one of the top teams in scoring. If you analyse, it is a question of budget. The top-scorers in the league now are the ones with the top salaries, mostly foreigners.”
“So we were not able to renew contracts of players like Xisco [Hernandez] (four goals and an assist for Odisha FC). So we had to go for other options. But those who have come in have been doing their best. We are in the playoff positions and I am happy with the work we have done until now.”
Cuadrat was also mindful of the fact that with the AIFF making it official that the league topper (not the winner) will get the AFC Champions League spot, the league stage would be more competitive.
“It makes a difference in the way you compete,” he said. “Last season we were in a comfortable position and didn’t play the first XI in some games [second half of the season]. But now all games until the end of the regular league will be important.”
Mumbai, on the other hand, is winless since the opening day, with four draws and two defeats in its last six matches. What it needs is a performance similar to the one it had at the Kanteerava last season -- a battling 1-1 draw after going down to 10 men. Accompanied by some luck, as coach Jorge Costa hoped, it could turn into a happy evening.
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