Bengaluru look to revive race to the summit as Odisha come calling

Third-Placed Blues Take On In-Form Visitors With A Chance To Move On Top Of The Table Despite Mumbai Set-Back

Bengaluru: In a high-stakes fixture for both teams, Bengaluru FC will look to come out trumps against Odisha FC in a bid to move to the top of the table when the sides clash in the Indian Super League, at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, on Wednesday. Carles Cuadrat’s men – currently third on the table with 22 points – could provisionally move ahead of FC Goa and ATK, both of who have 24 points, should they triumph on the night.

However, in Odisha FC, the Blues have opponents who could themselves move top of the pile on points, should they triumph over Bengaluru. More importantly, Josep Gombau’s men are in the middle of a fantastic run of form and come into this game on the back of four successive wins – something Bengaluru will be wary about.

“It’s a given how important the game against Odisha is. We have 15 more points to play for in the league stages and will have to switch momentum if we are to take back as many of those points as possible. Odisha have travelled here with good momentum, but our form at home is impressive. I expect it to be a fantastic game of football,” said Cuadrat, while addressing the media on the eve of the fixture.

The Blues were undefeated at the Kanteerava in the ISL for close to two years before Mumbai City broke the run in December with a last-minute winner. After last week’s slip to the same opponents away from home, Carles Cuadrat will find no better place than the Fortress to get Bengaluru’s chase to the summit back on track.

“We are really disappointed about the last game. There were instances that can affect the mentality, but the good thing is we haven’t had to wait long for this game, and can turn the tide in our favour,” said Cuadrat.

Bengaluru will continue to miss midfielder Raphael Augusto who is recovering from an injured knee, and will also be without Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Rino Anto – both of whom picked up injuries during the week. Meanwhile, Odisha will be without Vinit Rai (suspension) and Nandhakumar Sekar (hamstring), forcing Gombau to ring in changes of his own.

The fixture also pits two strikers who are having a phenomenal season, against each other. Spaniard Aridane Santana, leader in the race for the golden boot with nine goals so far, has been Odisha’s go-to man for all things in front of the rival goal. Meanwhile, Sunil Chhetri (8 goals) has been in terrific form himself. New signing Deshorn Brown got his first minutes off the bench in Mumbai and it needs to be seen if Cuadrat hands him a start against Odisha.

Brown, who only joined the squad a week ago, said he wasn’t putting any undue pressure on himself. “It’s always going to be difficult to come straight in and adapt, but I am keen to do my bit to help the team,” said the Jamaican.

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

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