ISL 2018-19: NorthEast United vs Bengaluru FC: A pre-match report
Tonight the Indian Super League will be witnessing one of the most intense fixtures of the league stage as the two top teams, Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United meet. While Bengaluru are topping the league table with 22 points, NorthEast are just behind with 18. NorthEast will be eager to decrease their points difference with Bengaluru but things will be difficult for both sides.
How ready are the two teams for the big clash?
NorthEast will likely be bringing back Reagan and Gurwinder Singh into the fold while lining up in the 4-2-3-1 formation with the dependable Ogbeche leading the attack. They have no injury concerns ahead of this vital fixture. Within the Bengaluru FC ranks, Miku is the only one out with an injury. The Sunil Chhetri-led side will also be lining up in the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Who are the key players for the two teams?
The hosts NorthEast United have Bartholomew Ogbeche, one of the two joint top-scorers, with eight goals in nine matches. Federico Gallego will also be vital in creating attacking chances for the hosts. Chhetri's importance in whichever squad he is in, cannot be overstated, and he can against rise up to the occasion tonight in terms of goals or assists.
Probable line-ups and TV listing
NorthEast United: Pawan; Reagan, Gurwinder, Grgic, Keegan; Rowllin, Leudo; Tlang, Gallego, Mascia; Ogbeche. Bengaluru FC: Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet; Khabra, Bheke, Juanan, Nishu; Paartalu, Delgado; Udanta, Xisco, Chhetri; Chencho. The match is scheduled to kick-off at 7:30 PM, and can be watched on the Star Sports network or live-streamed on Hotstar.
Match prediction: Who will win the fixture?
This fixture is surely the most difficult to predict since it will be contested between the two best teams of the season. While NorthEast will have home advantage at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, Bengaluru have some of the best players of the ISL in their ranks. Though the visitors look stronger on paper, the result can go either way tonight.
How does the league table look right now?
Bengaluru will remain at the top of the league table despite the outcome of tonight's match, but if NorthEast win the fixture, the competition will surely intensify. Interestingly, four teams from the 3rd to the 6th position are very close to each other, and thus matches in the upcoming days will be vital and we might see a lot of changes in the standings.