Bengaluru look to stay in the hunt as Chennaiyin come calling

Blues Aim To Do The Double Over Csaba László’s Men; Juanan, Leon Ruled Out With Injury

Bengaluru FC Interim Head Coach Naushad Moosa said his side are keen to add to their momentum, when the Blues take on Chennaiyin FC at the Fatorda Stadium, in Goa, on Friday. Bengaluru, sixth on the table and three points off the final playoff spot, come into the fixture on the back of their first win of the calendar year, while eighth-placed Chennaiyin are winless in their four most recent encounters.

“I watched Chennaiyin’s games against Hyderabad FC and Mumbai City FC and they were really strong and put in good performances. They even managed to draw with Mumbai, who are on top of the table. They will have all their foreigners available against us, and it will not be an easy contest in any way. We will have to be compact, the way we were against East Bengal, and how we defend will play an important role in the outcome of this fixture. We have to make sure they don’t get many scoring opportunities.”

Bengaluru claimed their first win of the calendar year with a 2-0 result against East Bengal on Tuesday, and Moosa says the result had a visible effect on the mood in the camp. “There is a lot of positivity in the camp because of the way we have been playing the last few games. We stayed compact against Hyderabad and Kerala, and then we didn’t repeat the same mistakes in our last game against East Bengal. Everyone was happy in the dressing room and we defended cautiously till the final whistle. We are not going to worry about the results or points, we will go out and give our best in each game going ahead.”

On the injury front, Moosa confirmed that Juan Gonzalez and Leon Augustine would miss out for the Blues, having picked up hamstring injuries. “Juanan is probably out for the rest of the ISL season, because he has a hamstring tear that will need at least six weeks to recover. Leon [Augustine] is also out for two to three weeks, which is unfortunate because he was having a really good run of form.”

The Blues will be without the services of defender Rahul Bheke, who picked up his fourth yellow card against East Bengal, but the side are buoyed by the availability of midfielder Erik Paartalu, who returns after serving a suspension of his own. Chennaiyin FC, on the other hand, will have attacking midfielder Manu Lanzarote in the reckoning, after the Spaniard replaced Rafael Crivellaro, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign through injury.

Xisco Hernandez, who made his debut on his return to the club against East Bengal. Moosa maintained that he will need more time before an assessment on the Spaniard’s fitness can be made. “The problem with Xisco is that he has not played in a while now. He has had a long gap, and then he had to do the mandatory 14 day quarantine here. His fitness is not at its best at the moment and we don’t want to take any risk.”

Kick off between the Blues and Chennaiyin FC is scheduled for 7.30 pm on Friday, and will be telecast live on the STAR Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV.

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