I-League: Churchill Brothers vs Bengaluru FC Preview
Two-time I-League winners Churchill Brothers welcome Champions Bengaluru FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium .
The Red Machines snatched their maiden point of the campaign with a last-gasp equalizer against DSK Shivajians away in Pune. The travelers, meanwhile, will try to put behind their disappointment against East Bengal, when they were downed 2-1 in Kolkata.
The away side flew from Bengaluru to Goa on Thursday morning, covering a distance of around 550 kms in about an hour and fifteen minutes.
League’s first ever point might have boosted Fridays home side a little. The away sides’ title credentials took a minor hit when fellow contenders East Bengal defeated them. This will have the Blues’ morale down a little, but expect the Champions to keep their mettle and bounce back.
Churchill Brothers have been training at the Tilak Maidan, while the home side will train morning.
Churchill Brothers coach Alfred Fernandes acknowledged the size of task that lies ahead of him, but is confident that his tactics should be able to contain the ‘quality’ Blues’ side.
“We are looking forward to our home match and they are coming from a loss while we are coming from a draw. So some positives are there and maybe their confidence can be low after that defeat. We have some tactical plans on how to contain them and since they are such a strong team with quality players, we have to come up with something extra.”
Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca too, was on the same wavelength, claiming it would be even difficult than their last trip to Kolkata.
“We want to get back to our winning ways again. We know how difficult game is going to be. It will be even harder than it was against Kolkata. We have to be ready mentally to prepare for this game. You know the league does not give you too much time to prepare for the games. But for everybody, it is the same. If we want something then we have to go out and try to get it. We have to be ready to work hard, to run a lot even more than them if we want to win.”
Fernandes have to play the waiting game with his two foreign recruits for another match. A Kroma’s transfer formalities keep him out, while Nigerian Benjamin Eniwo Onome has not joined yet.
Roca’s side has yet again traveled without Sandesh Jhingan, while Rino Anto, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Keegan Pereira, Salam Ranjan Singh and Lalchhuanmawia still remain long-term casualties.
No suspension headache for either side.
Predicted starting XI:
Churchill Brothers: (4-5-1): Priyant; Keenan, Rowilson, Khan, Fulganco; Fernandes, Brandon, Bektur, Costa, C. Lyngdoh; Wolfe.
Fernandes is likely to opt for an unchanged XI that earned him a precious point. Young Chesterpoul Lyngdoh retains his spot.
Bengaluru FC (4-3-3/3-4-3): Amrinder; Khabra, Johnson, Juanan, Ralte; Lyngdoh, Watson, Lenny; Udanta, Vineeth, Chhetri.
The away side too might line-up in a similar fashion like their last game. Roca’s only tinkering could be Mandar Rao Dessai for a central midfielder.
The Blues will return to winning ways. Goa trips have been ups and downs for the Garden City side of late, but this Churchill side do not look like posing a serious threat. Expect Roca’s side to come out unscathed.