ISL 2020-21 Preview: Bengaluru looks to end winless streak against Kerala Blasters

ISL 2020: Naushad Moosa’s BFC is currently seventh with 13 points from 11 games, but the interim coach believes that all is not lost yet and that his side is very much in the race for a playoff spot.

Kerala Blasters FC is one of three sides Bengaluru FC has registered a victory against this campaign.   -  SPORTZPICS/ISL

After having arrested a string of four consecutive defeats with a 1-1 draw against NorthEast United FC, Bengaluru FC (BFC) will look to get its season back on track when it meets Kerala Blasters at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Wednesday.

Naushad Moosa’s side is currently seventh with 13 points from 11 games, but the interim coach believes that all is not lost yet and that his side is very much in the race for a playoff spot. “It’s not like we have given up,” Moosa said on match-eve. “We still have nine games and teams are still close by and things are still open. So let's hope we do better and get some points.”

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The Blasters are one of three sides BFC has registered a victory against this campaign. But Kibu Vicuna’s team has seen an improvement in form since then, though it is precariously placed in 10th position with 10 points. The outfit’s two victories have come in the last five matches and it took an injury time equaliser from SC East Bengal to deny a third, last Friday.

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“The circumstances are different [from the last meeting] but we are preparing for every game in the same manner,” Vicuna said. “[our aim] is to play well and try to win and improve our defence and attack.”

Blasters will surely be helped by the fact that BFC will be without influential midfielder Dimas Delgado, who has returned to Spain following a family emergency. After Ashique Kuruniyan, Delgado will be the second sure-shot starter BFC will miss. Moosa hinted that it would be the last we would see of the Spaniard this season, with games coming thick and fast and strict quarantine rules in place for travellers from abroad.

“We have to cope,” said Moosa. “We have some quality players and we will be trying them [out]. We are not changing much in the way we are playing. We are just asking players to keep the ball more instead of playing those long balls; to keep the ball when you have it and be compact when you lose it. With Dimas gone, we will get a new player and we need to see how much time that player will take.”

Vicuna seemed to believe that that place will go to Fran Gonzalez, a player he coached last season to the I-League title at Mohun Bagan. Gonzalez, Bagan’s joint top-scorer then with 10 goals, can play both in defence and midfield, but has struggled to nail down a place at BFC, starting just two games.

For Blasters, defender Bakary Kone, who has missed the last two matches because of an injury, remains a doubt. BFC’s new signing Xisco Hernandez will be unavailable for two weeks owing to mandatory quarantine.

MATCH FACTS:

Venue: GMC Stadium, Bambolim

Date: Wednesday, January 20

Time: 7:30pm IST

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