Chennai, February 9, 2020: On the occasion of their 50th ISL home game, in-form Chennaiyin FC will be chasing a fifth consecutive Hero Indian Super League win when they renew rivalries with southern foes Bengaluru FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.
It will be all to play for in 5th placed CFC’s final home league game of the season as they take on BFC who occupy 3rd spot with 28 points, who have played one game more than the hosts. A Chennaiyin win would see them go within two points of Mumbai City FC in 4th, who have also played a game more. That would set CFC up well going into their six-pointer against MCFC away on February 21st. A win on Sunday would also mean the first time CFC has notched five wins on the trot in the ISL league season.
As for BFC, they are in a three-way fight with ATK and FC Goa (both on 33 points) for the top two spots that will guarantee an AFC Champions League and AFC Cup spot respectively, which means an intense encounter could be on the cards at the Marina Arena.
CFC come into this one on the back of a rollercoaster 6-3 away win over Kerala Blasters FC on the road one week back. The Marina Machans thus became the first ISL team to score six goals in an away game, taking their tally under Owen Coyle to 22 goals in eight games with 15 of them coming in their last four outings. As for BFC, they come into this one following a hard-fought 1-0 home win over Hyderabad FC.
The attacking quartet of Nerijus Valskis, Rafael Crivellaro, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Andre Schembri have been prolific for CFC, with the Lithuanian Valskis second in the Golden Boot race with 12 strikes to his name. Rafael has been the creator-in-chief with six assists and six goals, with Chhangte providing the spark from the wings, combining to great effect and notching four goals. The experienced Maltese forward Schembri has also chipped in with four goals and three assists.
It could be a case of attack vs defence in the Super Sunday clash between both sides, as BFC boast a good defensive record with just nine goals conceded – the least by any team this season.
In terms of nullifying BFC’s threat going forward, CFC will have to quell their set-pieces, with 12 of the visitors’ 19 goals this season coming from dead-ball situations.
As for team news, CFC will be without Anirudh Thapa while BFC will miss former Marina Machan Harmanjot Khabra – both out due to suspension. CFC Head Coach Owen Coyle also mentioned that midfielder Germanpreet Singh could be an injury doubt for the crunch clash.
For BFC, former Chennaiyin midfielder Raphael Augusto along with Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Rino Anto are ruled out, while defender Rahul Bheke could make a return from injury.