ISL 2019: Bengaluru FC out to continue dominance over Kerala Blasters

Defending champion Bengaluru FC will look for its second win of ISL 2019 when it hosts Kerala Blasters at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday.

There has always been an edge to the rivalry between the two sides, off the pitch at least. On the field, the results have been lopsided: Bengaluru FC, led by Carles Cuadrat (L) is unbeaten in the four ISL matches between the sides, winning three of them.   -  ISL MEDIA

A record crowd is expected at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium when Bengaluru FC meets Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League (ISL) here on Saturday.

The venue's South Stand — which last seated spectators during the 2018 ISL final — has been opened again to satisfy the heavy demand for tickets, and it would not be a surprise if the attendance record for an ISL game here, currently in the region of 24,000, is broken.

There has always been an edge to the rivalry between the sides, off the pitch at least. On the field, the results have been lopsided: Bengaluru FC is unbeaten in the four matches between the sides, winning three of them.

When the teams last met at the Kanteerava Stadium in February this year, BFC rallied from 2-0 down to draw 2-2, with Sunil Chhetri netting the equaliser five minutes from time.

As many as six Bengaluru FC players were on duty for India this past week, but coach Carles Cuadrat dismissed concerns about fatigue. "They can take extra learning from playing international football," the Spanish coach said.

The international break came after Bengaluru FC had posted its first win of the season, a 3-0 rout of Chennaiyin FC at home. Chhetri played as a central striker in that game, with Udanta Singh and Ashique Kuruniyan on either side and Manuel Onwu on the bench. That all-Indian forward-line is a formula Bengaluru FC could stick to, provided all three players are fully fit and rested.

Kerala Blasters, with four points from four games, has been set back by injury to key players this season. On Friday, head coach Eelco Schattorie refused to offer any updates on his injured players, seemingly for strategic reasons. But he and Kerala will know they have their task cut out.

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