Preview: Bengaluru FC will be eager to stamp their dominance yet again after suffering a rare setback in their previous Hero Indian Super League (ISL) clash.
Bengaluru FC were the only unbeaten side in the league until they were handed a stunning defeat by Mumbai City FC in their previous clash.
Now, as they prepare to face NorthEast United FC, they will be keen to let everyone know that they remain the team to beat at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Bengaluru FC have 27 points from 12 matches, the same as leaders Mumbai City who have played an additional game but have a better goal difference. A win against the Highlanders will help them climb back to the top of the table.
"We are fighting for the title, and at the end of the day, that's what we want the most. We were disappointed to lose out on our unbeaten streak but nobody is going to give us a gift for a record. What we want is to make the play-offs," said coach Carles Cuadrat.
NorthEast are third on the table with 23 points from 13 games and face a tougher challenge to seal a place in the top four.
They are four points adrift of the league leaders, with the likes of Goa and Jamshedpur breathing down their necks at fourth and fifth spot respectively.
Coach Eelco Schattorie will be looking to take advantage of the points dropped by playoff competitors Goa and Jamshedpur on Monday.
"We should have won in the home game against Bengaluru. We are on the edge of qualifying and we must win. Bengaluru need to win as they are just coming from their first defeat. They should not be worried," said Schattorie, whose side were denied a famous win by an injury-time equaliser from Chencho Gyeltshen.
NorthEast got the better of Chennaiyin FC in their last match, thanks to a stupendous long-range strike by Bartholomew Ogbeche.
The Nigerian striker is tied with Ferran Corominas for the Golden Boot race with 10 goals and will once again hold the key.
"Ogbeche, Corominas, (Moudou) Sogou are all fantastic strikers and important players for their teams. We have played a lot of games without Miku, and we've managed to grind out results, so I am very happy," said Cuadrat.
Bengaluru have played possession-based football under Cuadrat but Schattorie's NorthEast will pose a difficult challenge in midfield.
The Highlanders have made the most number of passes this season and only Mumbai have registered more clean sheets than the visitors.
"I'm sure they'll be well prepared to come back from a defeat. But the issue for Bengaluru is the absence of their main striker, which is not good for any team. But we are lucky that he (Miku) is not playing. It will be a tight game and I'm very excited to see what will happen," said Schattorie.
With inputs from Agencies.
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Updated Date: Jan 30, 2019 21:27:11 IST