Simon Grayson’s Men Brace For Battle Against Marina Machans, As Race For Playoffs Intensifies
Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC will look to maintain their winning run, as their quest to make the Indian Super League playoffs continues with a clash against Chennaiyin FC, at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Saturday. The Blues will aim to continue where they left off, having claimed a 3-0 win at Jamshedpur ten days ago. The victory against Aidy Boothroyd’s side was Bengaluru’s third on the spin, having beaten NorthEast United and Odisha FC at the turn of the year.
“We’re going into this game with a lot of belief because we’ve scored three goals and got a clean sheet in the last fixture. The aim is to play with confidence, not arrogance, because we’re respectful of what Chennaiyin FC can pose considering the quality of their players they’ve got,” said Blues’ boss Simon Grayson, speaking to the press on the eve of the game.
Bengaluru have a positive head-to-head record against Chennaiyin FC in the ISL, having won six of their 11 meetings against their rivals from the South. There have been three draws in this fixture, including the last one in mid-October, where the two teams played out a 1-1 result with goals from Roy Krishna and Prashanth Karuthadathkuni.
“Everybody realizes that it’s an important game for both sides. The games this weekend and the next could shape the way the league finishes. But all we can do is control what we can, and that is our performance tomorrow. They’ve also been around the playoffs race for a bit so it should be quite an exciting match and hopefully it’s another one that we can come out on top in,” Grayson added.
Like Bengaluru, Chennaiyin FC are also in the hunt for a spot in the top six, with Thomas Brdaric’s side just two points adrift of Bengaluru, albeit with the Blues having played a game more than their opponents. The away side come into Saturday’s game having drawn their last three fixtures.
“As a team, we want to be level-headed, do the basics right, be ruthless when we get our chances, and defend well together. We have got those ingredients right in the last few games and hope to take that into tomorrow’s match as well. The focus very much needs to be on the fixture and coming out of it with a positive result,” said Grayson.
Striker Petar Sliskovic is the visitors’ top scorer this season with eight goals to his name, and sits fourth on the League charts. Six of his strikes have been headers, underlining the aerial prowess that the Croatian possesses. Grayson will also bank on the good form of his frontmen, with strikers Sivasakthi Narayanan and Roy Krishna having scored in the Blues’ last two fixtures.
Kick-off between the two sides is scheduled for 5:30 pm IST on Saturday, and will be telecast live on the STAR Sports Network, Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.