The Sunil Chhetri-led Bengaluru FC will hope to put their Indian Super League (ISL) campaign back on track when they take on Kerala Blasters FC at the GMC Athletic Stadium here later on Sunday.
Bengaluru FC suffered a shocking loss against Odisha FC (1-3) after beginning their campaign on a positive note. Kerala Blasters FC too were listless in their last game, playing out a goalless draw against NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) after defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan in the season opener.
Bengaluru FC have had mixed fortunes in the last five games, having won two, lost two and shared points in one of their last five matches, which also includes their AFC Cup group stage outings. They have an identical record in the five pre-season games as well, which shows the star-studded team has been patchy of late.
The Blasters, on the other hand, have been winless in their last 10 ISL games, with their last victory coming in January 2021, incidentally against Bengaluru FC. Out of the eight pre-season games they have played, the Blasters have won five and lost two games.
On the head-to-head front, Bengaluru FC have an advantage, having won five of the eight outings and ending up losers in two.
After an inspiring 4-2 win against NEUFC in their opening game, Bengaluru FC slumped to a 1-3 loss to Odisha FC. As the score suggests, they have conceded far too many goals in the two matches combined, and coach Marco Pezzaiuoli needs to sort out the defence as soon as possible.
Alan Costa and Musavu King have played only two matches together in the centre-back position and it would be interesting to see how they develop as a pair as the season progresses.
Jayesh Rane had a quiet evening against Odisha FC, but Bruno Ramires has looked solid in central midfield. Suresh Singh Wangjam, who had been so impressive for Bengaluru FC in the previous season, is yet to find his rhythm.
For Blasters, the 2-4 loss against ATKMB was not the ideal start, but their intent was visible throughout the game, which gave their fans a glimmer of hope. However, the 0-0 draw against NEUFC was hard to digest for its fans. Despite creating superb scoring opportunities, the Blasters couldn’t capitalise with Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Sahal Abdul Samad and Alvaro Vazquez missing the target.