ISL 2021-22: Bengaluru FC aims return to winning ways against defending champion Mumbai City FC

Bengaluru FC will look to infuse fresh life into what has been a pedestrian start to its Indian Super League campaign, when it meets defending champion Mumbai City FC at the Bambolim stadium on Saturday.

After a positive start against NorthEast United FC, Marco Pezzaiuoliโ€™s side has been middling at best, losing 1-3 to Odisha FC and managing a dull 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters.

These are still early days, with just three games done, but another disjointed effort can call into question some of the new coachโ€™s methods and performances of a few senior pros.

โ€œWe analysed our last game and we deserved to win it, in terms of our pressing, counter-pressing and ball possession,โ€ Pezzaiuoli insisted on Friday. โ€œThe next step is to find the path to the opposition goal. We couldnโ€™t do that because the opponent was organised with many people behind the ball.โ€

One can be rest assured that Mumbai City will be more adventurous than the Blasters. After a 1-3 loss to Hyderabad FC, the Des Buckingham-coached outfit was brilliant in its 5-1 demolition of ATK Mohun Bagan.

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Vikram Pratap Singh and Bipin Singh were irresistible on the flanks, while forwards Igor Angulo and Cassio Gabriel constantly threatened through the middle.

Against NEUFC in the first match, BFCโ€™s defence struggled against a similar kind of threat, and will now need to be doubly wary of Mumbai Cityโ€™s impressive attack.

โ€œMumbai is very good at transitions and we need to be careful to not lose balls in our half,โ€ Pezzaiuoli said. โ€œWe should be tough in the duels and need to be good in front of the defence. They have good players there like Apuia. I think, the game will be decided there.โ€

But in the defeat to Hyderabad, the Mumbai backline was found lacking, a fact the BFC coach pointed to in his pre-match briefing. Both Mourtada Fall and Rahul Bheke have had trouble dealing with balls played behind them, with their back-pedalling skills from a high press position, suspect.ย 

โ€œBFC have got some very good players, play a very good style of football and if we donโ€™t prepare ourselves as well as we need to, they will cause us problems,โ€ Buckingham said. โ€œTheyโ€™re coached very well and have some excellent players within the system.โ€

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