KBFC vs BFC Match Details
Date: Thursday, 21 September 2023
Time: 20:00 (IST)
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, Kochi
KBFC vs BFC Match Preview
Any other fixture to start the season would have been favourable for Kerala Blasters but facing rivals Bengaluru FC in the league for the first time since the walkout incident in March this year could be unsettling. One factor that is reliving is the fixture being played at Kochi and not an away trip to Kanteerava, the venue of that chaotic evening. Otherwise, a hostile atmosphere was guaranteed. The previous ISL season for the Tuskers ended abruptly in that abandoned playoff tie with the Blues in which head coach Ivan Vukomanovic took the team off the pitch following a goal scored by the opposition in extra-time. Fines, touchline ban, criticism and chaos followed with the team now desperate to change the narrative about them in the upcoming campaign. Having played in the Durand Cup and several friendlies in the foreign tour to UAE, the club wants a positive start to their competitive season knowing that the only three wins in 13 league meetings with Bengaluru FC all came at home. Including a thrilling 3-2 victory back in December last year. They also carried the third-best record home record in the league the previous season.
While Blasters wish to start with all three points to silence some of the noises, Bengaluru FC are willing to replicate their excellent season last time. At least the latter part of it, when they strung together a 10-game winning run from January 2023 to the ISL final. They lost against Mohun Bagan in a penalty shootout in the showpiece and suffered more disappointment in another final, losing to Odisha FC in the Super Cup. Their aim to experience continental football again was denied. But those runs have given motivation to the Blues to return to their past glories. With key additions to the squad in the summer and sticking with their manager Simon Grayson, Bengaluru FC are bulking up for an important season ahead. The first game of the tenth ISL season will give them memories of being given a bye from the opposition having withdrawn from the game after captain Sunil Chhetri scored a famous free-kick or infamous depending upon the perspective. The two meetings following that match, the first time outside of ISL, have ended in a draw. Therefore, the Blues will not want a third consecutive stalemate to begin the season on a high.
KBFC vs BFC Team News
Both teams will miss some Indian players in their squad due to the Asian Games in China but are optimistic to test their new signings. For Kerala Blasters, Rahul KP has travelled with the national team so the new face Jaushua Sotirio could start in his place. There is expected to be a completely changed back four for the team with ISL winning captain Pritam Kotal partnering Milos Drincic at the back while Prabir Das and Aibanbha Dohling work the flanks. Another new arrival, Ishan Pandita is likely to pair Dimitrios Diamantakos on the frontline. Adrian Luna has committed the rest of his career to the club and will operate from the left.
Bengaluru FC will miss their skipper Sunil Chhetri for this heated battle with him captaining the national team at the Games. The 39-year-old free-kick goal ultimately led to that walkout incident thereby adding fuel to the rivalry. Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh has stayed with the team having been named in the initial list for the Asian Games after injuries to substitute keepers. The Blues will also showcase some of their signings as well with Slavko Damjanovic and Jessel Carneiro at the back while Halicharan Narzary on the wing and Curtis Main spearheading the attack.
KBFC vs BFC Predicted Lineups
KBFC: Karanjit Singh; Prabir Das, Pritam Kotal, Milos Drincic, Aibanbha Dohling; Jaushua Sotirio, Vibin Mohanan, Jeakson Singh, Adrian Luna; Dimitrios Diamantakos, Ishan Pandita
BFC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; Parag Shrivas, Alexander Jovanovic, Slavko Damjanovic, Jessel Carneiro; Rohit Kumar, Suresh Singh, Javi Hernandez; Roshan Singh, Curtis Main, Halicharan Narzary
KBFC vs BFC Head-to-Head (Overall)
Played - 15
KBFC won - 3
Drawn - 4
BFC won - 8
KBFC vs BFC Head-to-Head (ISL)
Played - 13
KBFC won - 3
Drawn - 2
BFC won - 8
KBFC vs BFC Dream11 Team Prediction
GK: Gurpreet (8)
DEF: Kotal (8.5), Drincic (8), Jovanovic (8.5)
MID: Narzary (8), Javi (9), Jeakson (8), Luna (9)
FW: Diamantakos (9), Pandita (7.5), Main (7.5)
Vice-captain: Javi Hernandez or Adrian Luna
Captain: Adrian Luna or Javi Hernandez