Chennaiyin FC will look to return to winning ways against a struggling Bengaluru FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Thursday.
The Bozidar Bandovic-coached side has 11 points from seven matches and has won just one of its last five games. It is also coming off a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Kerala Blasters.
But it should certainly fancy its chances against a BFC side that has won just once this season, the opening match against NorthEast United FC.
Talisman Sunil Chhetri has been woefully out of form and has started the last two matches on the bench.
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That BFC drew both those matches – against ATK Mohun Bagan (3-3) and Jamshedpur FC (0-0) – adds to the intrigue, for it was the first time this campaign Marco Pezzaiuoli’s outfit went two matches without losing,
“Sunil is a professional and knows very well how to deal with these situations,” Pezzaiuoli said on Wednesday, about the tough decision of benching the club captain. “[But] he works extremely hard, and I see the luck coming back in training. It’s only a matter of time before it comes back in the games as well.”
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Even as Chennaiyin looks to capitalise against a faltering BFC, armed with the best defensive record in the ISL this season, having conceded just seven goals thus far, it needs to sort out its attack. The side has scored a paltry six goals, four fewer than bottom-placed SC East Bengal.
“Of course, we’re missing the goals. [But] on Thursday, we’ll be better,” insisted Bandovic. “I believe in this team, and most of the games, we did very well with the offence. They need to just repeat things they did before.”
Both Chennaiyin and BFC are well-rested, having played their last games more than a week ago. If the break and the Christmas cheer manage to infuse some much-needed zest into their performances, it will be a welcome change.