A first Indian Super League final in four seasons beckons as Bengaluru FC – leading 1-0 from the first leg – takes on Mumbai City FC in the semifinal second leg at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday.
Simon Grayson’s side is high on confidence, having notched up its 10th successive win at the Mumbai Football Arena on Tuesday.
It has a defined way of playing – to hit on the counter and exploit the space behind the opponent’s defence – a settled first XI and a trump card in Sunil Chhetri, who has come off the bench to produce match-winning efforts in the last two matches.
That BFC has beaten MCFC – the best team in the League by a distance and one that has scored 54 goals – in two of the three League encounters this campaign will not be lost on anyone.
Still, even as it has one foot in the summit clash, to drag the other along will not be easy. A smarting MCFC is nobody’s dream combatant and BFC will also be playing its third game in 10 days.
“I had said that we wanted to be in the tie going into the second leg, which is what we’ve managed to do. But we haven’t achieved anything yet,” Grayson said, on the eve of the tie. “Mumbai is a top team, so I expect a difficult game.”
Des Buckingham, MCFC coach, would want his forward line to be more clinical. For all the dominance of the ball in the first leg, the attacking trio of Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Greg Stewart couldn’t find the back of the net.
“It was a one-off game, and my team will give a reaction,” Buckingham said. “The good thing is, apart from the set-piece, we had control of the game and created chances. I expect a very similar game, and the plan does not really change.”
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