Bengaluru brace for ‘toughest test yet’ as Mumbai come calling

Kanteerava Set To Reignite Rivalry As Both Coaches Predict Tough But Entertaining Battle On Wednesday

 Bengaluru: Albert Roca said his boys were bracing for what could be their toughest challenge of the I-League season yet when Bengaluru FC host old foes Mumbai FC at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.

A new-look Mumbai side that includes coach Santosh Kashyap as a summer signing matched the Blues in getting their season off to the perfect start with six points from two games and Roca feels the task won’t be easy. “This is a team that is mentally strong after two wins. So we are ready for a hard battle. They have enough talent to put us in trouble and they will try it. But we are ready for that,” said Roca while addressing the press on the eve of the game.

The Blues have had a flawless start scoring five goals and conceding none in wins over Shillong Lajong and Chennai City FC. But the hosts will have to switch gears if they are to take away something from Mumbai who have always upped their game for this particular fixture.

Making a return to Bengaluru’s Fortress for the first time since parting ways with the Indian champions will be Thoi Singh, Siam Hanghal, Shilton D’Silva and Karan Sawhney. In fact, it was Thoi and Sawhney who scored the winners for Mumbai against DSK Shivajians and Churchill Brothers and it will be interesting to see how they turn up in a once familiar setting.

While this fixture has never been short of drama, it’s seldom got to do with the football but more with the touchline shenanigans and banter from the stands. However, with Kashyap at the helm of things, that could change. “I am a coach who loves to play attacking football and Bengaluru FC too like to come out and play and I’m sure we will have a very exciting game of football tomorrow,” said Kashyap. Four of the six games played between the sides have ended in draws while Mumbai FC and Bengaluru have won a game each.

Though the visitors are yet to sign a foreign player, Kashyap said he had enough confidence in the Indian boys to get the job done.

On the Bengaluru front, midfielder Cameron Watson has completely recovered form a stomach bug that consigned him to the bench against Chennai City and there could be a small shuffle should Roca decide to start the Australian.

Mumbai, meanwhile, have traveled with a fully fit squad.

The game will be televised live on the Ten 2 network at 7 pm.

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