Bengaluru: Early pace-setters Bengaluru FC will need to be at their best to stake their claim as the dominant south India city club when they take on Chennayin FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Sunday.
It’s a top of the table derby clash as Bengaluru arrive at this fixture riding on two consecutive away wins. Third-placed Chennaiyin have found their footing after a harrowing opening week defeat to FC Goa, stringing three straight wins before controversially losing to Mumbai City FC last Sunday.
The John Gregory-coached unit will have to dust themselves off after an acrimonious penalty halted their purple streak, and their manager has highlighted to the importance of putting one over their rivals.
“Back in Chennai, I’m aware it’s a derby. Bengaluru are by far the closest team to us — the flight was only half an hour! There is a bit of local rivalry at stake and I believe we’ll bring some fans from Chennai to the game,” the ex-Aston Villa man said.
Meanwhile, Blues coach Albert Roca has goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu back in his fold following a two-match ban and seeks to see more mature performances from his no. 1.
Centre-back John Johnson could also return to the starting line-up after being subjected to rotation which has benefitted in-form centre-halves Rahul Bheke and Subashish Bose.
“We cannot afford to let any success from the past fool us into believing that the next game is simpler. We are strong and always confident at home but Chennaiyin have the quality to make us pay for a lapse of focus,” said Roca summing up....