Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru
12th May 2015, 19:00 IST
I-league holders Bengaluru FC host Indonesian giants Persipura Jayapura in the AFC Cup group stage and the game will be an intriguing one to watch as Ashley Westwooda s men will want to finish as the group toppers. The two sides are separated by just one point.
Bengaluru have been in brilliant form in the AFC Cup since losing to Persipura in their second game and have won three games in a row. Their domestic form has been impressive as well as they had won three games in a row without conceding a single goal until last weeka s draw against Shillong.
Line-ups and tactics
Bengaluru strength in the competition has undoubtedly been their defending. The team have conceded just five goals, but three of those came against Persipura in the reverse fixture. All of Bengalurua s wins have come by a one goal margin in contrast to their opponents who have won games with more aplomb.
The defence could comprise the quartet of Keegan Pereira, Curtis Osano, John Johnson and Rino Anto. The right back, Anto, had a good game against Shillong and will be expected contribute to the attack as he has done this season. Osano and Johnson have been very solid in recent weeks and will have to be at their best against a Persipura side who have scored at will.
In front of the defence, the duo of Joshua Walker and Shankar Sampingiraj are expected to play as the double pivot. Captain Sunil Chhetri and Beingaichho are expected to play as the wide players with Eugeneson Lyngdoh playing as the attacking midfielder. Robin Singh started the last game on the bench, and could be preferred to Sean Rooney in attack today.
In Robin Singh, Bengaluru not only have a bit of pace and power, but also the option of playing a plan B. While the former East Bengal man was used as a target man last season, Ashley Westwood has employed a more attractive style of play this term. Sunil Chhetri and Beingaichho will be big threats in wide positions thanks to their pace and crossing abilities.
Predicted XI: Ralte; Pereira, Osano, Johnson, Anto; Walker, Sampingiraj, Chhetri, Lyngdoh, Beingaichho; Singh
Last seasona s AFC Cup semi-finalists, Persipura, will hope to go a step better this time as they have a good team that has been playing well. Last tiea s 6-0 thrashing of Warriors would have given their players a lot of confidence after a shock goalless draw at home to Maziya. While there is no doubt that the side can go further in the tournament, Persipuraa s biggest challenge will be to deal with the cauldron that the Bengaluru stadium usually is. The home fans are one of the best in the I-league, if not the best.
Last time Persipura faced Bengaluru, the Indian side were missing a lot of key players with the likes of Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh to name a few.
Persipura are expected to go with the same lineup that they used against Warriors. Dede Sulaiman is expected to start in goal for the ISL runner ups. In defence, the quartet of Bio, Ruben Sanadi, Yustinus Pae and Dominggus Fakdawer are expected to start.
The midfield could comprise of Imanuel Wanggai, Ian Kabes, Zulham Zamrun and Nelson Alom. In attack, the prolific duo of Robertino Pugliara and Boas Solossa are expected to lead the line.
Predicted XI: Sulaiman; Bio, Sanadi, Pae, Fakdawer; Wanggai, Kabes, Zamrun Alom; Pugliara, Solossa
Player to watch out for
The 28-year old has been the best player for Bengaluru this season and has added a creative spark that has enabled Ashley Westwood to play a more passing game this season compared to last campaign. Bengaluru do not have a single player in the top 10 goal scorers in the I-league, but Lyngdoha s five goals have been come at crucial times. If the Indian is at his best again today, expect Bengaluru to come out on top.
Bengaluru FC 2-1 Persipura Jayapura
Bengaluru have been water-tight at the back and have got the job done up front. While their opponents have scored at will, the I-league Champions are no pushovers when it comes to crunch games as shown this season. With the home support, we predict Bengaluru to come out on top