ISL: Bengaluru face Delhi
Most of the eyes will be focused on Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri as he makes his 150th appearance for the club against bottom-placed Delhi Dynamos in an Indian Super League (ISL) tie at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Monday.
Chhetri has been the mascot for Bengaluru FC and has been with the champion side since inception. He has been the face of Bengaluru's campaigns all along and, just like the last clash against FC Goa, proved he can make the crucial difference between two teams.
Monday's clash is between a team which occupies the second position against one placed at the bottom of the table. Delhi Dynamos are likely to find the going tough against a strong Bengaluru FC side.
Bengaluru FC is the only team who are unbeaten so far, although they have only played six matches. They are coming into the tie on the back of an impressive 2-1 win over FC Goa where both teams were reduced to 10 men.
As a result, the Blues will miss the services of midfielder Dimas Delgado and Xisco Hernandez is expected to take his place.
Star striker Miku and Erik Paartalu both missed the last clash with injuries. While Paartalu has had surgery on his toe and will miss a few more games, Miku could return if he recovers from the swollen ankle that kept him out of the last game.
Should Miku fail to recover, Chencho Gyltshen, who made his first appearance against Goa, will get another opportunity to shoulder the attacking responsibility alongside Chhetri, who already has five goals to his name this season.
Delhi, on the other hand, has struggled in attacking especially, having only scored seven goals from their eight matches. Clinical is a word you wouldn't associate with Delhi as they have been extremely wasteful with their finishing.
Coach Josep Gombau will hope that his players have had adequate rest and that they would get over the disappointment from the first phase of games.
Pritam Kotal and Narayan Das will have to lead the defence, which has leaked in 13 goals. Their team composition would depend on whether Gombau opts to start with Albino Gomes in goal or pick Francisco Dorronsorro.
Daniel Lalhimpuia will be keen to make a mark against Bengaluru, a club where he amassed a total playing time of five minutes in the ISL.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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