Buoyant Bengaluru square off against unbeaten Islanders at Kanteerava 

Simon Grayson’s Blues Bank On Home Advantage As Mumbai City FC Chase ‘Invincibles’ Tag

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC will continue their bid to qualify for the Indian Super League playoffs when they welcome Mumbai City FC to the Kanteerava Stadium, on Wednesday. The Blues, who are now on a six-game winning streak following a 1-0 win against Kerala Blasters on Saturday, face a Mumbai City FC side who are unbeaten this season under Des Buckingham, and clinched the ISL Shield with two games to spare. 

“We’re in a good run of form and there are players who are doing well. The team has belief in itself and this was evident on the weekend. We want to continue this run and try and get what would be a fantastic result,” said Bengaluru Head Coach Simon Grayson, interacting with the media ahead of the game.

Bengaluru FC will have midfielder Suresh Wangjam back from suspension, but Grayson will be without the services of Roy Krishna and Parag Shrivas, with the duo picking up their fourth yellow cards of the season in the clash against Kerala Blasters. Krishna’s unavailability could mean a return for skipper Sunil Chhetri, with the Blues’ frontman having scored seven goals against the Islanders in the Indian Super League, his highest against a single opposition in the competition. 

“Their (Roy and Parag’s) unavailability doesn’t change much. Even if they are missing, there are players who know our tactics and patterns. These players will be looking to make the most of this opportunity which helps us a great deal,” said Grayson. 

The Islanders come into the game having won their last encounter 3-5 against FC Goa, and Buckingham’s side will hope that their frontline of Jorge Pereyra Diaz (11 goals), Lallianzuala Chhangte (10 goals) and Bipin Singh (6 goals), who have combined to score nearly half of Mumbai’s goals this term, will continue their good form. 

“We have set game plans which are working well for us. Even if we go behind, we have to stick to those plans and not do anything untoward. If we put a foot wrong against Mumbai, they have players who can pick us apart,” Grayson replied when asked about Bengaluru’s tactics to counter their opponents on Wednesday.  

Mumbai’s duo of Greg Stewart and Ahmed Jahouh will pose a threat with their range of passing and their ability to control proceedings in the opposition half. The battle between the Blues’ defensive resilience, evidenced by their clean sheet against Kerala Blasters, and Mumbai’s free-flowing attack will prove to be an enticing battle when the two sides square off.  

“We have the spirit and the work ethic to beat them, and I’m sure Des (Buckingham) would have his players ready and up for it as they chase that (unbeaten) record. I’m sure they won’t be expecting an easy game against us either, so there’s pressure on both sides,” Grayson opined.

Kick-off between the two sides is scheduled for 7:30 pm IST on Wednesday, and will be telecast live on the STAR Sports Network, Disney+Hotstar and JioTV. 

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