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ISL 2021: Bengaluru aims to build on start against Odisha


Bengaluru FC will look to build on a positive start to its Indian Super League campaign when it takes on Odisha FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Goa on Wednesday.

Marco Pezzaiuoliโ€™s side won 4-2 against NorthEast United FC in its season-opener, which was marked by a controlled second-half performance after a wayward first period, made tough by an unrelenting downpour.

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A fairly successful outing for winger Udanta Singh and debut goals for Jayesh Rane andย Prince Ibara would have warmed the club faithfulโ€™s hearts. Cleiton Silva, continued from where he left off last season, scoring his teamโ€™s opener in clinical fashion.

But BFCโ€™s defence was shaky, with the new centre-back pairing of Alan Costa and Yrondu Musavu-King finding the going tough. Promising winger Leon Augustine looks set for a spell on the sidelines because of an ankle injury he sustained in the game.

Up top, skipper Sunil Chhetri didnโ€™t see much of the ball and was often isolated. BFCโ€™s plan should be to involve him more.

โ€œSometimes Sunil came inside too early. He didnโ€™t get that many balls from the central midfield. We need to improve there,โ€ Pezzaiuoli said on match-eve.

โ€œAnd also, to get him in a better position, especially on the right side, to score more goals in the box and be more like a second striker. Thatโ€™s the quality he showed a few weeks ago with the Indian National team,โ€ the coach added.

Odisha, on the other hand, will be playing its first game of the season, with new head coach Kiko Ramirez aiming to banish memories from 2020-21 when the outfit finished rock bottom.

It has a lop-sided head-to-head record against BFC to contend with, having lost five and drawn one from eight ISL encounters. It also has a brand-new roster of foreign players, but Ramirez felt that the lengthy pre-season his side had will help forge unity.

โ€œBeing together for the long pre-season was extremely important for nurturing the bond between the foreign players, the Indian players, and the staff. Within the time that we spent together, we are in a good place being together. We know itโ€™s going to be a tough one, but we are ready,โ€ the Spaniard said.

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