Bengaluru vs Chennaiyin: Preview and Prediction
In the second fixture of Matchday 14 of the 2023/24 Indian Super League season, Bengaluru and Chennaiyin will lock horns as the Southern Derby will be played at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.
This match will be of huge importance for both teams, as they are currently not a part of the top six with time running out fast for them. Bengaluru never really got things going in their favor this season.
The Blues have won only two of their 13 matches so far, drawing five and losing the other six. With just 11 points to their game, Bengaluru are placed in the 11th position of the league standings.
On the other hand, Chennaiyin’s condition is slightly better, but they too need to improve massively.
The Marina Machans have won three of their 13 matches while drawing as many games. Owen Coyle’s men have lost the other six fixtures and are currently 9th in the points table with only 12 points from 12 matches.
Bengaluru had a disastrous start to their new campaign, as they lost both of their first matches – 1-2 against Kerala Blasters and 0-1 against Mohun Bagan Super Giant. The next two matches saw a tilt in momentum, as they defeated East Bengal 2-1 and drew 0-0 against Goa.
Although the run halted when they suffered a 2-3 defeat against Odisha, the Blues were unbeaten in their next three matches, drawing against Hyderabad, NorthEast United and Bengaluru. While the first two matches produced 1-1 scorelines, the third game was a 3-3 thriller.
Bengaluru’s form went for a toss in December when they lost 0-4 to Mumbai City and 0-2 to Chennaiyin, but they made a comeback with a 1-0 win against Jamshedpur and a 1-1 draw against NorthEast United. However, they went down 1-3 in their last fixture against Punjab.
Chennaiyin’s start was way worse as they lost all of their first three matches – 0-2 against Odisha, 0-3 against NorthEast United and 3-1 against Mohun Bagan Super Giant. A 1-0 win over Hyderabad and a 5-1 win over Punjab got their season on track, but the good work was undone when they lost 0-3 against Goa.
That defeat was followed by three straight draws, where they drew 1-1 against Chennaiyin, 3-3 against Kerala Blasters and 2-2 against Jamshedpur. The next match saw them beating Bengaluru 2-0, although they then lost against Punjab and Mumbai City.
Head to Head Record
When it comes to head-to-head records, Bengaluru has the upper hand over Chennaiyin. These two teams have crossed paths 14 times in the league, where the Blues have won seven games, while the Marina Machans have been victorious on four occasions.
The last meeting was only two months ago, where Chennaiyin got a 2-0 victory in front of their home crowd. Rafael Crivellaro and Jordan Murray were the scorers, with both of them scoring from the penalty spot.
Bengaluru tried making a statement in the winter transfer window, and now, they are hopeful the new arrivals will deliver the goods for the team. Nikhil Poojary only appeared from the bench in the 1-3 defeat against Punjab because he had just returned from national duties, but the star full-back is expected to start in this match.
On the other hand, new Danish striker Oliver Drost is all set to arrive on Monday and might be available for selection. However, midfielder Rohit Kumar will not be playing in this fixture, as he needs to serve a one-game suspension after being yellow-carded in the last match, which was his fourth caution of the season.
On the other hand, this will be Chennaiyin’s first match after the 2024 Super Cup and Coyle is expected to have all players fit and available for this match.
Indian striker Rahim Ali sustained an injury in the Marina Machans’ last Super Cup fixture against Mumbai City, but he has since recovered and is training with the team.
Predicted Starting XIs
Bengaluru (4-2-3-1): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; Nikhil Poojary, Aleksandar Jovanovic, Chinglensana Singh, Roshan Naorem; Lalremtluanga Fanai, Suresh Singh Wangjam; Ryan Williams, Javi Hernandez, Sunil Chhetri; Oliver Drost.
Chennaiyin (4-3-3): Samik Mitra; Ankit Mukherjee, Lazar Cirkovic, Sarthak Golui, Aakash Sangwan; Cristian Battocchio, Mobashir Rahman, Rafael Crivellaro; Connor Shields, Rahim Ali, Ninthoinganba Meetei.
Although Bengaluru made some shrewd signings last week, the new arrivals are unlikely to hit the ground running and might need some time to understand coach Gerard Zaragoza’s philosophy.
On the other hand, despite Chennaiyin not looking too convincing this season, they have produced some good performances. Hence, the Marina Machans will start this game as the favourites.