Kanteerava set for battle of the south

Bengaluru FC Confident But Wary Of Neighbours Chennaiyin FC As Roca Banks On Form And Momentum

Bengaluru: It’s being billed as a battle for bragging rights down south and Albert Roca said he would drop his Bengaluru FC side a small reminder of the stakes when the his League-leaders take on Chennaiyin FC at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, in a 5.30 pm kick-off on Sunday.

The Blues have weathered the woes that away games bring with it, well and the Spaniard is confident yet cautious about coming up against a Chennaiyin side that’s a win away from catching up with Bengaluru on top of the standings. “We cannot afford to let any success from the past fool us into believing that the next game is simpler. Competition is getting harder and like I’ve said before, teams are finding their groove. We are strong and always confident at home but Chennaiyin have the quality to make us pay for a lapse of focus,” said Roca on the eve of the game.

The Blues came back from a goal down against FC Pune City two days ago to stage a second half fight and score three goals in a thirty minute period and Roca believes his side will have to build on that show of character to keep the fantastic momentum they’ve built, going.

In team news for Bengaluru, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu makes a return to the squad after serving a two-game suspension and whether Roca opts to carry on with Lalthuammawia Ralte, who has done well in Sandhu’s absence, is a call that won’t be an easy one.

However, Roca will be without his assistant Carles Cuadrat who had to undergo a surgery on his knee and will be following the game off the pitch. “I have a fully fit squad but will be without Carles. However he has sent us all plans for set-pieces which has always been his domain, over an email and I’m hoping we get our chances to use them.”

Roca’s dabbling of his starting XI over the last three games also makes it difficult to guess the line-up he will be rolling out against Chennaiyin and the boss seemed pleased about his options. “We’ve got enough quality on this team to give me a selection headache and that’s always nice. Everyone is willing to put their hand up and take responsibility as we’ve seen in the last few games. I still haven’t decided the team that will take the pitch tomorrow but I’m sure everyone is up to deliver.”

The Blues will be buoyed by the red-hot form striker Miku is in. After firing blanks in the League opener against Mumbai City FC, the Venezuelan hasn’t stopped scoring and his tally now stands at six goals in five games. But Roca reckons his lethal strike force will be up against a very rigid defence. “They have some real quality in defence with players like Mailson and Inigo Calderon and we know it’s going to be a tough contest.”

The 5:30 pm kick-off means proceedings at the Fortress begin earlier than usual, and will be telecast live on the Star Sports network, HotStar and Jio TV.

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