Chennai: Bengaluru FC would look to avenge their first leg defeat and strengthen their top position when they take on Chennaiyin FC in a top-of-the-table clash in the Indian Super League on Tuesday.
It's a showdown between two teams that have set the pace this season in the ISL.
Even though both Bengaluru and Chennaiyin are comfortably settled in the top two positions in the league standing, there still will be a lot to play for when they square off at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Second-placed Chennaiyin are currently four points behind table-toppers Bengaluru but John Gregory's men have played one game less than their southern rivals.
Chennaiyin had defeated Bengaluru 2-1 at their home and a win on Tuesday will see the Chennai team cut the lead to just one point.
But, it will not be easy. Bengaluru are coming into the match with three successive wins under their belt. And this time, Bengaluru will look to turn the tables on Chennai.
Mindful of the task at hand, Chennaiyin coach Gregory said for him the season will actually start from tomorrow.
"For me, the season starts tomorrow. This is when you find how good you are. Everything has just been jostling for positions," Gregory said at the pre-match press conference.
"It is just like practice lap in Formula 1. We are second in the grid and the race actually starts tomorrow. We have five games in 17 days that will determine if we make it to the playoffs," he added.
Talking about the team selection for the big game, Gregory said he has the complete squad to choose from but he'll make that decision only before the game.
"Everyone is fit and healthy for this crucial period. I'm fortunate to have a good medical staff that has taken good care of the players," he said.
Though Chennaiyin have the advantage of a 2-1 win over Bengaluru in the last game, the visiting side head coach Albert Roca felt their loss at home will have no effect on his players tomorrow.
"I don't think it will play on our mind. Losing to Chennaiyin was not disastrous. Obviously, we want to win all games. Tomorrow, we need to be brave and try and get all three points," Roca said.
Bengaluru have been enjoying a great debut season in the ISL. Roca's men have adapted to the new league with ease and are looking like title contenders. The Spanish tactician, however, feels it's too early for such claims.
"It's not finished yet. First, we have to finish all our games, perhaps we can talk a little about it and even then we also have to go through playoffs.
"At the moment it's a pack of six teams looking to get into top four. So the first goal is to be in top four. If we take all three points tomorrow, we'll be close," he said.
Updated Date: Feb 06, 2018 13:38 PM