Bengaluru FC faces an uphill task for survival as they lock horns against the in-form side from Bangladesh in the form of current Bangladesh Premier League Champions – Bashundhara Kings. While the Sunil Chhetri led team struggled against the big-spending ATK Mohun Bagan in their opening clash, the Bangladeshi champions cruised to an opening day victory against the group hosts Maziya S&RC. This promises to be another action-packed affair for both the clubs as they look forward to achieving their respective objectives and targets.
Despite seeing 70% of the possession, the team from the south could not overcome the challenge presented by the Kolkata giants as the first half strike from Roy Krishna and second half goal from Subhashish Bose condemned them to a 2-0 opening day defeat. However, there were signs of renewed energy and hope for the former ISL champions as the likes of Jayesh Rane, Danish Farooq Bhat, and Bidyashagar Singh displayed some impressive performances.
Nevertheless, the biggest talking point remained their creativity in the final third as Bengaluru FC forward line failed to trouble Amrinder Singh in goal. Another tough litmus test awaits Marco Pezzaiuoli and his men as they look to register their first three points against the formidable opposition from Bangladesh and bring their AFC Cup campaign back on track.
History beckons Bashundhara Kings as they stand 90 mins away from booking their place in the next round of the AFC Cup at the expense of 2016 finalists Bengaluru FC. Led by their Spanish coach – Oscar Bruzon, the team from the capital city of Dhaka have forged a strong reputation of scoring goals for fun. In their last domestic campaign, the club scored 55 goals and won the league with a strong 13 point cushion. This form seems to have continued for the continental debutants as they won their first game with an impressive showing. Spearheaded by their Brazilian forward and a remarkable backline, the Bangladeshi club looks determined to cause a massive upset against the former runners-up.
Cleiton Silva is expected to lead the line despite his average showing against ATKMB. Sunil Chhetri will further support him and other attacking options such as Udanta Singh, Bidyashagar Singh and the impressive duo of Leon Augustine and promising young forward – Shivshakti. The midfield will have a similar look, just like in their first game against ATKMB. Bengaluru’s defence will consist of their two foreign imports aided by variety of options in the full back roles.
The Bangladeshi league champions have no injury concerns from their opening game against Maziya S&RC and will look to field a similar lineup against the blues. Their four overseas players and a host of key national team stars will offer a wide range of options for their Spanish coach.
Predicted Line-ups of Bengaluru FC and Bashundhara Kings
Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Sarthak Golui, Alan Costa, Y Musavu King, Ajith Kumar, Jayesh Rane, Suresh Wangjam, Bidyashagar Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Cleiton Silva
Bashundhara Kings: A.R. Zico (GK), B. Ghosh, T. Barman, K Shafiei, T. Kazi, B. Ahmed, Fernandes, M. Miah Zoni, M. Rahman Sufil, R. Becerra, Robinho
It’s a must-win tie for the blues, and they will be banking strongly upon their talisman – Sunil Chhetri to deliver the goods once again. In addition to that, they would need to find answers to unlock the opposition defence, which has looked resolute so far. On the whole, this promises to be a mouthwatering clash with a lot at stake for Bengaluru FC. A win here will help their cause and keep their hopes alive.
Match Date – 21st August 2021 (Saturday)
Time – 16:30 IST
Venue – National Stadium, Male, Maldives
How to watch – Star Sports Network
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