The old nemesis meet again. Its North-East United playing away to Bengaluru FC. The animosity started during the semi-final clash in season 5 and has continued till date between the clubs and the fans. One of the heavyweights of ISL take on the Highlanders with both the teams impressively unbeaten so far. While Bengaluru FC on the back of a hard fought win against Chennaiyin FC would look to bag another 3 points, the sturdy Highlanders after an impressive win against SC East Bengal would like to continue the run of form.
We are all aware of how Bengaluru plays. Absence of Miku does not stop them from changing tactics. They rely on building from the back and using the pace on the wings. Dimas, likes to take control of the midfield alongside the impressive Suresh Wangjam. The onus is upon Apuia and Camara to counter that midfield.
While reliance on set-pieces is something that is pretty common to how BFC plays, lest we forget about the *clears throat* (borderline legal) physical game that they like to display on the pitch.
North-East United however would like to carry on the resilience that they have shown over the course of the season and take the fight to Bengaluru. With a disciplined set up and efficient performance they would like to put a dent on the previous winners of the ISL.
While former coach Eelco Schattorie had found a chink in their armour, it will be interesting to see how the pragmatic and organised team under Gerard Nus approaches the game and tackles it.
For BFC, there are 4 key players that we feel may help them have an impact on the game. Gurpreet between the sticks is always a tough one to beat while Wangjam in midfield has been impressive in his last outing. Cleyton Silva with his debut goal is one to keep an eye and finally the captain Sunil Chhetri is an ever-present danger.
For the Highlanders, Apuia and Camara would be quintessential in the midfield battle whereas they would rely on Ninthoi and Appiah to capitalise on the counter. While the fans would love to see Gallego back and respond to 'that damned incident' , Charra would be looking for a start given how he performed against East Bengal.
With both sides being the two of the three unbeaten teams so far in the league, they lock horn with hopes of maintaining that record as well as snatching 3 points from their opponent. A win for the Highlanders take them to the top with an extra game played, whereas victory for the home side puts them level on points with North-East.
A scintillating encounter awaits.
P.S - Highlander Brigade remembers the avid Bengaluru FC fan and a dear member of the West Block Blues Mr. Harsha and passes on the condolences for his sudden demise. May he rest in peace.
Up the Highlanders
We Walk Through This Together