ISL 2018-19: In-form Bengaluru FC, Mumbai City FC lock horns

Bengaluru FC will look to continue its unbeaten run when it hosts Mumbai City FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday.

Gearing up: Bengaluru FC warms up at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday. Photo: ISL Media

After having thrived in the first half of the Indian Super League (ISL) season, table-topper Bengaluru FC (BFC) will look to continue its unbeaten run into the second when it welcomes Mumbai City FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday.

The visitor, though, is a gritty opponent, placed as it is just three points below BFC (on 20 points) and armed with a recent record to match that of the host. Ever since the 5-0 hammering at the hands of FC Goa, Mumbai has gone on an unbeaten run of six games which includes five wins and five clean sheets.

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For the BFC frontmen, who do not have star striker Miku among them, the stingy Mumbai defence led by the impressive Subhashish Bose and Joyner Lourenco will offer a stern test. Both are former BFC players, with Subhashish in particular outstanding in the club’s run to the final last year.

‘Work, not luck’

In each of the last three games, BFC has left it rather late to secure results, the latest being the injury-time overhead from Chencho Gyeltshen which salvaged a point away against North East United.

Tough test ahead: Mumbai City FC has hit a purple patch of late. Can it continue its winning streak? Photo: ISL Media

 

Coach Carles Cuadrat was, however, unconcerned. “I was reading one tweet from the ISL saying that I said ‘we have been lucky in the last few games’,” he said. “It was not what I said. Behind those successful results there is a lot of work. In the last two games we got points because of set pieces. We work more than 15 set pieces every game. It is work not luck. You have to respect that.”

‘Difficult game’

What has also warmed Cuadrat is the contribution from the bench, with substitute Kean Lewis’ cross setting up fellow substitute Chencho’s equaliser a case in point. As to how deep BFC has to dig, depends on how Mumbai coach Jorge Costa approaches the game. On the match eve, though, he kept the cards close to his chest.

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“It will be a difficult game for us,” he said. “It is our third game in six days including two away. We didn’t have time to work on the field. Bengaluru is one of the best teams in the league and I have not found many weak points. But let me tell you that I know what we must do. I think we can get three points.”