Chennai City FC welcome their rivals and defending Champions Bengaluru FC in the second edition of the South Indian Derby in the I-League. The final game in the 13th round of fixtures features two sides of contrasting style and stature needing similar outcome from the game.
After controlling the run of play for larger parts of the game against DSK Shivajians, the Tamilnadu club failed to take three points away from the match. Taking the lead through Amiri just before the half time, it looked like Chennai were finally going to pick up all the three points from a game for the first time since their 2-1 victory over Mumbai FC on match day 8 only for Shane McFaul to equalize for the Pune based team in the stoppage time. But it must be said that Chennai somehow rejuvenated from their late slump in form by putting up an improved display against opponents who are in a similar state to theirs in the league.
An instance from Bengaluru’s 2-0 win over Chennai City back in January.
(Photo credits: IBTimes)
A win today would lift Chennai 2 places ahead and place them at 7th position with 12 points thereby leading the likes of DSK Shivajians and Miverva Punjab who are currently on 11 and Mumbai FC on 9. After somehow managing to end their win-less streak of 7 games in the league by blanking out Minerva Punjab for a narrow 1-0 win, Bengaluru FC on the other hand would seek no less than 3 points when they face Chennai tonight. Along with this season’s surprise package Aizawl FC doing wonders in the top half, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have good amount of points for potentially winning the title. And having said that the Blues have failed to register more points to defend their title, they should aim to finish in a respectable top 3 position. A win here would take them to 4th place.
The game might be a great contest between the two sides who play exactly in the opposite way. Albert Roca’s possession based build-up play is well known whilst Chennai have settled to deploy the low block and attack in counters of late. Though Chennai have been naive in their defending especially during the last quarter of the game, they have all the tricks up their sleeve to pull of a brilliant result against the Champions at home and avenge their 2-0 loss in the reverse fixture.
Image courtesy: I-League official
Chennai City FC
Keeping his promise before the game, Chennai coach V.Soundararajan fielded all four foreigners in the game against DSK, interestingly deploying Thank on the left flank. The same team which played in the previous game is expected to start after a better performance on the whole comparing the previous games. Raju Yumnam is still unavailable for the home side as Edwin Vanspaul is doubtful for the game. Denson Devdas has become match fit but he is unlikely to start as the partnership of Zakeer and Ganesh worked just fine in the previous game.
For the visitors Lyngdoh seems to have lost his place to Lenny Rodrigues as he has proved himself to Roca with the only goal for his side against Minerva. First choice keeper Amrinder Singh is still on the sidelines and Arindam will be guarding the goal again for the Bengaluru outfit. Goals have not been flowing in as they used to be for the Blues as CK Vineeth and Chhetri have failed to add their names in the scoring chart on a consistent note. Hence new signing Jugovic is expected to partner the Captain in the line-up.
Featured image credits: I-League official