Fortress set for Bengaluru, Blasters showdown

Packed Kanteerava Stadium Set To Witness Heavily Anticipated Clash As ISL Action Returns After Two-Week Break

Bengaluru: All roads will lead to the Kanteerava Stadium where Bengaluru FC go to battle with Kerala Blasters in front of what’s positioned to be a record-crowd at the Fortress, on Saturday. The fixture that has been marked, and marked again on calendars, will see Carles Cuadrat’s men look to extend their domination over a team that is yet to beat the Blues, as the League resumes after an international break that saw as many six Bengaluru FC players feature for India.

“We had a good result leading into the break, but even the other games that we played deserved the points. The calendar is what it is, but we are positive that the players who went on national duty have stayed active and are fresh for the game on Saturday,” Carles said, addressing the media on the eve of the clash.

With a sold-out Fortress awaiting the two sides for the big-ticket encounter, Carles added that games against Blasters have been a good memory for his side, who played out a 2-2 draw in the same fixture last season.

“I’m waiting for this game because I hear that the stadium will be packed tomorrow. I have good memories of playing against this team over the last two years and it is always good for football when there are so many supporters coming to watch,” said Cuadrat.

Fifth-placed Bengaluru have won three of their four games against Kerala and Cuadrat, who faced Eelco Schattorie four times last term while the Dutchman was Head Coach at NorthEast United, said that his side will look to keep building on their string of solid performances in a fixture against a tough side that somehow finds itself on seventh position on the table.

“We’ve deserved more from our first three games, but we have drawn confidence from the fact that we have controlled things on the pitch every time we have stepped out on it, this season. We will be up against a tough team that’s looking to change things for themselves.”

One of only three unbeaten teams in the campaign thus far, Bengaluru come into this game on the back of an assertive 3-0 win over rivals Chennaiyin FC. More importantly, Cuadrat’s men have conceded just the one goal – a penalty against FC Goa – in four games.

Blasters had a winning start to the season but have suffered a stutter of sorts with two losses and a draw and have only scored once in the last three games. The visitors’ form will definitely be cause for concern as Schattorie looks to climb the table.

On the injury front, Cuadrat welcomed Serran back to training after the Spaniard missed out against Chennaiyin FC two weeks ago, but said that the medical team is working on getting Rahul Bheke ready after the defender suffered a muscle injury in the Oman-India game on Tuesday.

The visitors have had it worse, with central defenders Jairo Rodrigues and Gianni Zuiverloon missing out with hamstring injuries, while Spanish midfielder Mario Arques too looks certain to miss the fixture. Striker Raphael Bouli returns to the side after suffering a concussion in the game against Odisha FC. Experienced Bartholomew Ogbeche will be the key man for Schattorie’s side, and is currently their top-scorer having netted twice this season so far.

The game kicks off at 7.30 pm and will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network and Hotstar.

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