Bengaluru FC will host East Bengal FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday in what promises to be a rollercoaster of emotions for the latters head coach Carles Cuadrat amidst his return to his old hunting ground.
Cuadrat continues to be the standout tactician in the Blues history, having pioneered them to the Indian Super League (ISL) Cup in 2018-19, and is widely adored by the West Block Blues. As he tries to spin his magic around the Red and Gold Brigade, the Spaniard will be keen to go back from his former home ground with happy memories for the Kolkata-based club.
*Whats at stake?
The Blues ended their previous match against Mohun Bagan Super Giant with nine men as Suresh Singh Wangjam and Naorem Roshan Singh were sent off. Simon Grayson thus has two of his definite starters absent for this game. His manoeuvring of the squad and playing XI in those circumstances will be integral as the team searches for their first win of the campaign.
East Bengal FC
Cuadrats impact on the East Bengal FC team is quite evident as they have embarked on an unbeaten start to the season and defeated Hyderabad FC by 2-1 emphatically on Saturday. There is added weightage in this encounter considering Cuadrats history with Bengaluru FC and there is no way that the head coach will leave a stone unturned to secure a positive outcome from this match.
Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)
All eyes will be on Sunil Chhetri as the Bengaluru FC skipper is set to play his first game of the ISL 2023-24 campaign on Wednesday. His arrival will bring in a sense of energy, enthusiasm, and on-field leadership that can help the team bounce back and bag their first win of the season.
Nishu Kumar (East Bengal FC)
Like Cuadrat, defender Nishu Kumar will also square off against his former club, a place where he shot to stardom from 2015-2020. Nishu has seamlessly settled into the East Bengal FC backline and his experience and quality are reflected in the enhanced solidity and resilience of their defensive unit.
East Bengal FC 3
Bengaluru FC 2
"We do bounce off the crowd, which is really good for us. Hopefully, we can entertain them and it can be a cracking atmosphere. We all have to remember the second half of the last season, with the wins that we had, there were some special nights. We have had many special nights in the last few seasons and hopefully, we can have many more of them at Kantereeva. Ultimately, we want to start winning matches because we have lost the first two," Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson said as quoted by an ISL release, banking on the support of the home crowd to get their first win of the season.
"Last season, Bengaluru FC were fighting for trophies. They won the Durand Cup. They were in the final of the Super Cup and the ISL, which means that they are a very competitive team. They have also been working on bringing new players here to make an even better project. So, we have to be ready for a very competitive match because they need points, very clearly, after two games, they are going to give everything. They also have the Kanteerava supporting them, that I know very well," Cuadrat took stock of Bengaluru FC before their upcoming faceoff. (ANI)