Following two defeats in its opening two games, Bengaluru FC will look to get back to winning ways when it meets East Bengal FC in the Indian Super League here on Wednesday.
Simon Grayson’s men will hope for the familiar environs of the Sree Kanteerava Stadium to spring them back to life after narrow away losses to Kerala Blasters and Mohun Bagan Super Giant.
“We have had two tough away games,” Grayson said on Tuesday. “Going to Kerala…and Mohun Bagan, who on paper have the strongest squad in the league. But we are back at home now and we feel we have played well enough in both games.
“The three goals we’ve conceded have been disappointing goals. No team has really cut us open. So we have that sorted, and we’ve got the attacking options back in. That will help us be a better all-round team. I’m sure it will,” the Englishman added.
The return of Sunil Chhetri, after competing in the Asian Games, will surely help, despite the fact that the 39-year-old talisman wasn’t a guaranteed starter last season. BFC, however, will miss key men in Suresh Wangjam and Naorem Roshan, who will be serving suspensions for the red cards against Mohun Bagan Super Giant last week.
On form though, it is East Bengal which is better placed, having picked up four points from the first two fixtures against Jamshedpur FC and Hyderabad FC.
Striker Cleiton Silva, formerly of BFC, is in top form, scoring a brace against Hyderabad including a stoppage-time winner. The Brazilian had scored all three goals in the twin victories over BFC last year, and the home faithful will pray that he isn’t a thorn in the flesh again.
East Bengal coach Carles Cuadrat will also be returning to the club with whom he won the ISL title in 2018-19. Grayson said Bengaluru would welcome the Catalan warmly but hoped that he goes back a disappointed man. Cuadrat will gladly take the reverse.
“All the games are very narrow in terms of results,” Cuadrat said. “Whoever is scoring the first goal will have the advantage. Both of us have consistent teams. Anything can happen.”
“We know that BFC were fighting for trophies last season. They won the Durand Cup and were in the final of the Super Cup and the ISL. They are a very competitive team, and they need the points very clearly after two games. They are going to give everything,” he added.