Bengaluru FC will take on NorthEast United FC in the second match of the Indian Super League. It will be the first match of the season for both teams. The match will be played in GMC Athletic Stadium of Bambolim, Goa. As per head-to-head records, Bengaluru FC has got an edge over NorthEast United FC in past. The side from South India has won 5 out of 10 matches against the Highlanders. NorthEast United has won only 1 match and the rest 4 matches had no winner. However, a new season means a new campaign and new adventure. How may be the second match of the Indian Super League played? Let's find it out here in our Match preview of Bengaluru FC vs NorthEast United FC.
The battle between Indian and Foreign head coach
After the rule of only having a foreign head coach in ISL removed, North East United FC became the first and only team in the league with an Indian head coach, Khalid Jamil. In his first match of ISL as a Head coach (earlier he was an interim head coach), Khalid will be facing 52-year-old German tactician Marco Federico Pezzaiuoli. Khalid Jamil was appointed as the interim coach of North East United FC last season and managed to take his team to the semifinals from being at the bottom of the table. On the other side, we will find Marco Pezzaiuoli, who worked as the Technical Director of Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt trying to revamp the lost glory of Bengaluru FC.
Bengaluru FC's Wing play strategy
Bengaluru FC is well known for their wing play. Ashique Kuruniyan and Udanta Singh are sure to run down the wings and cause trouble for North East wing-backs. Udanta will be starting at the right-wing as usual but we can presumably see Ashique being played at the left-back position. While in possession of the ball, we can expect Ashique to operate as the left-winger and Sunil Chhetri to push inside the box to meet the crosses from both the wings. New signing Price Ibara can operate as the sole number 9 in front of the goal.
North East's counter-attacking football
Khalid Jamil is well known in the Indian football circuit for his defensive solidarity skills at the back. Jamil is a tactician who loves to create a solid defense and maintain it throughout the game. Last season after Khalid was appointed we saw some brilliant counter-attacking football for the highlanders. So, in this season we can expect to see North East United playing in a counter-attacking football while maintaining their defense. Federico Gallego will be playing as a link between defenders and attackers. He will play a huge role in Northeast's counter-attacking strategies from the middle of the park.
Bengaluru FC vs NorthEast United FC will be the game to watch for a perfect midfield battle. Khalid Jamil is expected to provide an extra defensive layer to his defenders by playing a double pivot. Among which one may have the role of being a box-to-box midfielder and the other will be playing the role of a defensive blocker in the middle of the park. On the other hand, Marco Pezzaiuoli is expected to deploy a wing play and long ball strategy. To prevent NEUFC counterattacks, Marco is expected to play a three-man midfield consisting of mostly blockers.
Chances to capitalize
The Highlanders will depend mostly on counter-attacking football to score. It's Federico Gallego who will have to drive the midfield. Gallego is expected to play the number 10 role for the highlanders. With the addition of Mathias Coureur, BFC defense and midfield will have to be on their toes to prevent through balls from Gallego to Coureur. On the other hand, Marco can play Suresh and Jayesh along with another central midfielder, presumably Bruno Ramires in the midfield. Jayesh could play the role of a distributor to the wingers and forwards to build scoring chances from the wings.
Probable Starting 11
Bengaluru FC: G. Singh Sandhu (GK), Alan Costa, Musavu King, Sarthak Golui, Ashique Kuruniyan, Suresh Wangjam, Jayesh Rane, Bruno Ramires, Sunil Chhetri (C), Udanta Singh, Prince Ibara.
NorthEast United FC: Subhasish Roy (C), Provat Lakra, Patrick Flottmann, Hernan Santana, Gurjinder Kumar, Sehnaj Singh, Imran Khan, Federico Gallego, Rochharzela, Mathias Coureur, VP. Suhair.