Good evening everyone,

Our wait for the season to begin felt like an eternity, and before we can figure out how time has flown by, we’re already four games through in the campaign. I’m sure all you fans are taking in this flurry of fixtures with open arms, and understandably so.

I know I keep repeating myself when I say how much we miss playing at the Fortress with all of you in the stands, but today that sentiment rings truer than most times. In a few hours from now, we take on Kerala Blasters in what is a ‘home’ game for us. This fixture would see the team bus rolling into the Kanteerava to a sea of fans from both teams chanting their lungs out, and giving you a very sure idea of what the next 90 minutes is going to be like. These are nights and atmospheres we all look forward to for days, and keep with us long after the game is done.

But things are what they are, and while we will miss the atmosphere this game would have provided more than ever, we realise that we have a job at hand against a team that is waiting to turn a corner. Kerala are searching for their first win this season, and I believe the chance to do it against us will serve as a big motivation.

Like always, we are focused on our strengths and it is visible that we have been improving rapidly with every passing game, and are on our way to hitting the standard that we are capable of delivering - both, with individual players and as a team. We felt hard done by the result of our game against NorthEast United, given the character we showed to bounce back from an early hiccup and then taking complete control of the game. Hopefully, we will start taking all points from games we deserve to win. We have a process and a plan and we’re working every single day to realise it.

I hope you’ve had a great Sunday so far, and we will do everything we can to make it perfect so that you’re ready to take on the week with a spring in your stride. Get in front of a screen and back us like you would at the Fortress!

Love,
Carles

02Game
Preview

The Blues host Kerala Blasters tonight in what is bound to be an action-packed 90 minutes at the Fatorda. This rivalry has grown over the years, with a bustling Kanteerava Stadium the usual setting for this game. And despite playing in a bio-bubble a long way from the Fortress, not much will change when the two sides enter the field.

Here are three key points to keep an eye out for tonight:

FLASHBANG CAMEO

While the Blues took only a point in the game against NorthEast United, the big positive was Udanta Singh’s return to the scoreboard. He scored his first goal in more than a year and was all over the Highlanders’ defence after coming on as a substitute. He dropped to the bench after starting the Blues’ opening two games but his goal on Tuesday will have forced his name back into Carles Cuadrat’s plans.

THE REUNION

Tonight will be the first time the Blues will face Nishu Kumar since his departure in the summer. A fine full back who spent five years at the club making a name for himself, he has become Kerala Blasters’ first-choice right-back and will go toe-to-toe with Sunil Chhetri and left-back Ashique Kuruniyan. This will be one for the TV screens!

HOLE AT THE BACK

Kerala Blasters’ backline will be without Costa Nhamoinesu, who will be sitting this one out with a suspension. The Zimbabwean has become the de facto leader in the opposition camp following Sergio Cidoncha’s injury and has been the vocal presence that holds their backline together. Can the Blues make the most of his absence tonight?

03BFC
Squad

GOALKEEPERS

1
GURPREET SINGH SANDHU
28
LALTHUAMMAWIA RALTE
30
LARA SHARMA

DEFENDERS

2
RAHUL BHEKE
4
PRATIK CHAUDHARI
5
JUAN ANTONIO GONZALEZ FERNANDEZ
10
HARMANJOT SINGH KHABRA
15
WUNGNGAYAM MUIRANG
19
AJITH KUMAR
24
JOE ZOHERLIANA
25
NAMGYAL BHUTIA
29
PARAG SATISH SHRIVAS
55
FRAN GONZALEZ

MIDFIELDERS

6
ERIK PAARTALU
13
AJAY CHHETRI
14
DIMAS DELGADO
22
ASHIQUE KURUNIYAN
27
SURESH WANGJAM
31
LEON AUGUSTINE
32
NAOREM ROSHAN SINGH
33
EMANUEL LALCHHANCHUAHA
35
BISWA DARJEE
36
THOI SINGH
37
AMAY MORAJKAR

FORWARDS

9
KRISTIAN OPSETH
11
SUNIL CHHETRI
17
EDMUND LALRINDIKA
18
THONGKHOSIEM HAOKIP
21
UDANTA SINGH
23
CLEITON SILVA
26
DESHORN BROWN

04KBFC
Squad

GOALKEEPERS

1
Bilal Husain Khan
13
Prabhsukhan Singh Gill
32
Albino Gomes
77
Muheet Khan

DEFENDERS

3
Sandeep Singh
4
Bakary Kone
5
Nishu Kumar
14
Jessel Carneiro
24
Abdul Hakku
26
Costa Nhamoinesu
39
Lalruatthara

MIDFIELDERS

6
Prasanth Karuthadathkuni
7
Setyasen Singh
8
Rohit Kumar
11
Givson Singh
15
Jeakson Singh
16
Nongdamba Naorem
17
Rahul KP
18
Saha Abdul Samad
20
Ayush Adhikari
22
Sergio Cidoncha
25
Vicente Gomez
27
Ritwik Das
30
Arjun Jayaraj
45
Yondrembem Denechandra
47
Lalthathanga Khawlhring

FORWARDS

9
Jordan Murray
10
Facundo Pereyra
19
Shaiborlang Kharpan
23
Naorem Mahesh Singh
88
Gary Hooper

05Key
PLAYERS

Vicente Gomez

The Spaniard has made the most interceptions, had the most touches, made the most passes and has taken the most shots in the opposition camp. With a box-to-box role and the guile to make a difference in either box, the Blues will have to keep a close watch on Vicente Gomez’s movements tonight.

Bakary Kone

The Burkina Faso international will be stepping into the shoes of the suspended Costa Nhamoinesu, taking the lead in organising the Kerala Blasters defence against the Blues frontline. He has plenty of experience at the highest level, having played in Ligue 1 and La Liga, and it shows in the way he goes through the motions. Despite committing more fouls than any other Blasters player, he has picked up just one yellow card so far.

Nishu Kumar

A reunion that’s bound to bring back a few memories. The full-back learned his trade with the Blues where he broke through the ranks to establish himself in the first team and also become an India international. Primarily a left-back, he is comfortable on either wing and has been playing as a right-back for the Blasters. His duel against skipper Sunil Chhetri and Ashique Kuruniyan will be one to watch out for.

‘There’s no pressure, but I can feel the expectation’

Playing For Bengaluru FC Has Brought With It A Level Of Responsibility Like None Ashique Kuruniyan Has Ever Experienced Before. He Says It’s One He Relishes Every Single Day…

His first year at Bengaluru FC coincided with the only time the club ended a season without silverware, and 23-year-old Ashique Kuruniyan says it was a campaign that taught him much.

“Last season was the first time that I felt I was in a team where there was so much competition for places and an expectation to win. I wouldn’t call it pressure, because we were confident of challenging for trophies. I could sense that winning mentality from the time I walked in for the first time. I was blown away by how much every player, even those in the B Team and Youth teams, wanted to win games,” Ashique says.

The Blues’ start to the season hasn’t been flawless, but Ashique maintains that the standards the team has set for themselves underlines the reaction of the squad and the supporters. “A lot of teams would walk away from a draw and consider it a positive result. The only reason we - the players, staff and fans of BFC - think otherwise is because of the standards we have set for ourselves. We go into every game with an urgency and expectation to come out with three points, and when we cannot do that, we become hungrier. It’s a responsibility I am enjoying.”

Ashique, who has started three games in the full-back position behind the skipper, says he is learning everyday and concedes it is a position he likes playing in. “I started out as a striker, and they moved me down to the left flank when I was younger. I’ll be honest when I say that left-back is a position that I have started to enjoy more now than I did before.”

Despite starting in the Blues’ last line of defence, Ashique has had the most shots on target by any Bengaluru FC player this season, and says he is happy to play in any position that Head Coach Carles Cuadrat has for him. “The coach has a plan and I’m comfortable in every position he has played me in during my time here. He has played me as a left-winger, as a right winger and even as a striker sometimes. In terms of playing as a full-back, I’m learning more every day by playing with Chhetri bhai. He drops deep to support me, and it only makes it easier for me to settle in.”

Despite the galleries painting an empty picture this season, Ashique says that he continues to feel the love and support of the West Block Blues through social media and the various messages he receives online.

“When I started playing football in Malappuram, one of my biggest dreams was to play in packed stadiums. When I got the chance to move to Bengaluru, playing in front of the West Block Blues was what I looked forward to the most. Their support on matchdays always served as a big source of positive energy, and that’s what made it so tough for other teams to come and take a result away from the Kanteerava.”

Ashique says that while the supporters aren’t there in person, he takes comfort in the fact that they are watching from their safe spaces. “Right now, all we can hope for is that the fans are staying at home and are able to watch us safely. We get a lot of messages from people who want to support us. They know that we’re going out there to win the points, and when we don’t it’s their encouragement that will give us the strength to go out there and try again.”

ಕಿರು ಮಾತು: ಸುರೇಶ್ ವಾಂಗ್ಜಮ್

"ಈ ಆಟ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಇರಬೇಕಿತ್ತೆಂದು ನಾನು ಆಶಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ"

ತಂಡದ ಮತ್ತು ಅವರ ವೈಯಕ್ತಿಕ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನದ ಇಲ್ಲಿಯವರೆಗಿನ ಸಾಧನೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ

ಇದು ಒಂದು ಪ್ರಕ್ರಿಯೆ. ತರಬೇತುದಾರರು ನಮ್ಮಿಂದ ಏನು ಬಯಸಿದ್ದಾರೋ ಅದನ್ನು ನಾವು ಪಿಚ್‌ನಲ್ಲಿ ನೀಡಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇವೆ. ನನ್ನ ವೈಯಕ್ತಿಕ ಸಾಧನೆಯ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಯಿಂದ ನೋಡಿದರೆ, ಎಫ್‌ಸಿ ಗೋವಾ ಆಟದಲ್ಲಿ ನಾನು ಮೊದಲಾರ್ಧದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಷ್ಟು ಉತ್ತಮವಾಗಿ ಆಡಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ ಮತ್ತು ದ್ವಿತೀಯಾರ್ಧದಲ್ಲಿ ಆಟಕ್ಕೆ ಮರಳಿದ್ದೆ. ಹೈದರಾಬಾದ್ ಎಫ್‌ಸಿ ವಿರುದ್ಧದ ಪಂದ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನನಗೆ ಸಂತೋಷವಾಗಲಿಲ್ಲ ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ರಕ್ಷಣೆ ಮತ್ತು ದಾಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ, ನಾನು ಇಷ್ಟಪಡುವಷ್ಟು ಭಾಗಿಯಾಗಲು ಆಗಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಚೆನ್ನೈಯಿನ್ ಎಫ್‌ಸಿ ವಿರುದ್ಧದ ಪಂದ್ಯದ ನಂತರ ನಾನು ಸಂತೋಷಗೊಂಡಿದ್ದೇನೆ ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ನನ್ನ ತರಬೇತುದಾರರು ನನ್ನಿಂದ ಕೇಳಿದ್ದನ್ನು ನಾನು ಮಾಡಿದ್ದೇನೆ ಮತ್ತು ನಾನು ಸಹ ದಾಳಿಗೆ ಸಹಾಯ ಮಾಡಿದೆ. ನಂತರ ನಾರ್ತ್ ಈಸ್ಟ್ ಯುನೈಟೆಡ್ ಎಫ್‌ಸಿ ವಿರುದ್ಧದ ಪಂದ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ, ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನ ಅತ್ಯುತ್ತಮವಾಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂದು ಭಾವಿಸಿದೆ. ನಾನು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ದಣಿದಿದ್ದೆ ಎಂಬ ಸಬೂಬು ನೀಡಿ ಕ್ಷಮೆಯ ಪಡೆಯಲಾರೆ. ನಾನು ಮುಂದಿನ ಕೇರಳ ಬ್ಲಾಸ್ಟರ್ಸ್ ಆಟವನ್ನು ಎದುರು ನೋಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಹಿಂದಿನ ಪಂದ್ಯಗಳಿಗಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ತೊಡಗಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ನಾನು ಬಯಸುತ್ತೇನೆ.

ಬ್ಲೂಸ್‌ನ ತಂತ್ರಗಳು ಮತ್ತು ಕ್ಷಮತೆ..

ಮೊದಲ ಎರಡು ಪಂದ್ಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ, ಡಿಮಾಸ್ ಡೆಲ್ಗಾಡೊ ಪಂದ್ಯದ ಪ್ರಾರಂಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಲಭ್ಯವಿರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂದು ಕೋಚ್ ನಮಗೆ ತಿಳಿಸಿದ್ದರು. ನಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಆಟಗಾರರೊಂದಿಗೆ, ನಮ್ಮನ್ನು ಮತ್ತು ತಂತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ನಾವು ಹೊಂದಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಡಿಮಾಸ್ ತಂಡಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದಾಗ, ತಂಡದಲ್ಲಿ ರಚನೆ ಬದಲಾಯ್ತು ಮತ್ತು ಅವರಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಗುಣಮಟ್ಟದ ಆಟದಿಂದಾಗಿ ತಂಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಆತ್ಮವಿಶ್ವಾಸ ಇಮ್ಮಡಿಯಾಯ್ತು.

ಕೋಟೆಯ ವಾತಾವರಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಕೇರಳ ಬ್ಲಾಸ್ಟರ್ಸ್ ವಿರುದ್ಧದ ಪಂದ್ಯಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ

ಕಳೆದ ಆವೃತ್ತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ, ನಾವು ಕೇರಳ ಬ್ಲಾಸ್ಟರ್ಸ್ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಆಡಿದಾಗ ನಾನು ಗಾಯಗೊಂಡಿದ್ದೆ ಮತ್ತು ಆ ಸಮಯದಲ್ಲಿ ನಾನು ತಂಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಸತತವಾಗಿ ಸ್ಥಾನ ಪಡೆಯುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಆಗ ಕ್ರೀಡಾಂಗಣ ತುಂಬಿ ತುಳುಕುತ್ತಿತ್ತು, ಒಂದು ಕಡೆ ಹಳದಿ ಬಣ್ಣದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಕೇರಳ ಅಭಿಮಾನಿಗಳಾದರೆ ಮತ್ತೊಂದೆಡೆ ಬಿಎಫ್‌ಸಿ ಅಭಿಮಾನಿಗಳು ತುಂಬಿದ್ದರು. ನಾನು ಆಟದಲ್ಲಿ ಭಾಗಿಯಾಗದಿದ್ದರೂ, ಅದನ್ನು ನೋಡಿ ನಾನು ಆನಂದಿಸಿದ್ದೆ. ಈ ಆಟ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಇರಬೇಕಿತ್ತೆಂದು ನಾನು ಆಶಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ.

ಈ ವರ್ಷ ಉಳಿದ ಪಂದ್ಯಗಳು ...

ನಾವು ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಮೂರು ಪಂದ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ಗೆದ್ದರೆ ಅದು ನಮಗೆ ಉತ್ತಮವಾಗಿರುತ್ತದೆ. ಮತ್ತು ಯಾವುದೇ ತಂಡವಾದರೂ ಗೆಲ್ಲಲೆಂದೇ ಆಡುತ್ತವೆ. ನಮ್ಮ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ಷಮತೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅತ್ಯುತ್ತಮ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನಗಳೊಂದಿಗೆ ಅಂಕಪಟ್ಟಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಾವು ಡಿಸೆಂಬರ್ ಅನ್ನು ಮಹೋನ್ನತವಾಗಿ ಕೊನೆಗೊಳಿಸಬೇಕಾಗಿದೆ.

ಉದಂತಾ ಈ ವರ್ಷದಲ್ಲಿನ ತನ್ನ ಮೊದಲ ಗೋಲು ಗಳಿಸಿದ ಬಗೆಗೆ...

ನನಗೆ ತುಂಬಾ ಸಂತೋಷವಾಯಿತು. ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಬ್ಬ ಆಟಗಾರನಿಗೂ ಕೆಟ್ಟ ಸಮಯವಿರುತ್ತದೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅವನು ಅದನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಂಡು ಯಶಸ್ವಿಯಾಗುವತ್ತ ನಡೆಯಬೇಕು. ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ಉದಾಂತ ಈಗ ದೇಶದ ಅತ್ಯುತ್ತಮ ವಿಂಗರ್. ಅವರಿಗೆ ಅರ್ಹತೆ ಇದೆ. ಅವರು ತನ್ನ ಆಟದತ್ತ ಗಮನ ಹರಿಸಬೇಕಾಗಿದೆ. ತನ್ನ ಕ್ಷಮತೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಅವರಿಗೆ ತಿಳಿದಿದೆ. ಕಳೆದ ಪಂದ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಗೋಲು ಗಳಿಸುವುದು ಅವರಿಗೆ ಬಹಳ ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿತ್ತು.

ಉದಂತಾ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಬದಲಿಯಾಗಿ ನಾರ್ತ್ ಈಸ್ಟ್ ಯುನೈಟೆಡ್ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಆಡಿದ್ದರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ…

ಆ ಪಂದ್ಯದ ಆರಂಭದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ತರಬೇತುದಾರರು ನನ್ನನ್ನು ಆಟದಿಂದ ಹಿಂಪಡೆದು ಬದಲಾಯಿಸಿದಾಗ, ನಾನು ಮೊದಲೇ ಹೇಳಿದಂತೆ, ದಣಿದಿದ್ದೆ ಮತ್ತು ನನ್ನ ಅತ್ಯುತ್ತಮ ಆಟದ ಕ್ಷಮತೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಇರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಕೋಚ್ ಸರಿಯಾದ ನಿರ್ಧಾರ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡರು. ಉದಂತ ಭಾಯ್ ಬಂದಾಗ, ಆಟದಲ್ಲಿ ವೇಗ ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಯಿತು ಮತ್ತು ಅವರು ಎಲ್ಲದರಲ್ಲೂ ತಮ್ಮನ್ನು ತೊಡಗಿಸಿಕೊಂಡರು. ಅದರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಒಂದು ಗೋಲು ಕೂಡ ಗಳಿಸಿದರು. ಗೋಲ್ ಗಳಿಸಿದ್ದು ಸಂತಸ ತಂದಿತು ಮತ್ತು ಇದರಿಂದ ತಂಡವು ಆಟದಲ್ಲಿ ಮುನ್ನಡೆ ಸಾಧಿಸಿತು.

ಮೊದಲ ಮ್ಯಾನ್ ಆಫ್ ದಿ ಮ್ಯಾಚ್ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ...

ನನ್ನ ತಂಗಿ ಹಲವು ಬಾರಿ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿ ಪಡೆಯುವುದನ್ನು ನೋಡಬಯಸುವುದಾಗಿ ಹೇಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದಳು. ನಾನು ಅದನ್ನು ಪಡೆದಾಗ, ಕೇವಲ ಅವಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಯೋಚಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿ ನನಗೆ ಸಂತೋಷ ತಂದಿದೆ, ಇದು ನನಗೆ ಆತ್ಮವಿಶ್ವಾಸವನ್ನು ನೀಡುತ್ತದೆ ಆದರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಇದು ಕೇವಲ ಒಂದು ಪ್ರಾರಂಭವಷ್ಟೇ. ನಾನು ಬಹಳಷ್ಟು ವಿಷಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಧಾರಣೆ ಕಾಣಬೇಕಿದೆ ಮತ್ತು ನಾನು ಅದನ್ನು ಸಾಧಿಸಲು ಬಯಸುತ್ತೇನೆ.