Friday night sees top of the table Bengaluru play host to 2nd place Pune City as the top two sides meet in what should be an enthralling battle. Bengaluru will be wanting to stretch their lead at the top of the table, whilst Pune will be trying to close that same gap. Which one will happen, we will have to wait but let’s get into the stats.
Bengaluru go into the game sitting in top position and comfortably sit there. They have a great goalscoring record this season, managing an incredible thirty goals this season. Their defensive record is incredible as well, after only conceding fifteen goals over the course of the season. They will be banking on this defensive record to come into play against Pune. They go into the game in perfect form, after winning five of their previous five in the league. Interestingly, they haven’t drawn a single game this season, will Pune change this?
Pune go into the game sitting one place behind their hosts in 2nd place, five points behind their opponents. They have a very good goalscoring record this season, managing twenty-seven goals this season. Their defensive record is better than their opponents, as they have only conceded fourteen goals, can Pune be one of the few teams to stop Bengaluru from scoring? They go into the game in near perfect form, winning four and losing one of their previous five games.
The last time this two sides faced off was back in December 2017. Bengaluru came out on top of the action-packed game, with the final scoreline being 3-1. Of course, the scorers for Bengaluru were Sunil Chhetri and Miku, with the latter bagging a brace. Pune’s Baljit Singh received a red card early in the second half so the game pretty much ended at that moment.
The game was a fast-paced game, even though Bengaluru enjoyed the majority of possession and created the most chances. I am sure Bengaluru will want a similar performance this time around.
The Game Itself…
If the game turns out like the previous encounter than most neutral fans will be happy as it had goals and a red card. Pune will be wanting a better performance this time around and I expect them to put in a better performance.
Personally, I want Pune to win as they would close the gap on Bengaluru to two points and going into the last few games, this would make the league a little more interesting.
Either way, I expect Bengaluru to have more of a control on the game like last time out, however, they will have to be careful of Pune on the counter-attack as they could steal a cheeky 1-0 win.
This game is too tough for me to call a single player that will control the game so I am going to break the rules a little and pick a player from each team.
From Bengaluru’s side of things, you could choose two or three players. Miku is one of the players that is always in the shout for this award. He is a crucial goalscorer for Bengaluru who has a brilliant relationship with my choice of Key Player Sunil Chhetri. The guy is a legend, he threatens the best of defences in the league and always seems to pop up with a goal.
From Pune’s side of things, you could also choose a few players. One that comes to mind is January signing Marko Stankovic, he seems to have settled into the league well and could prove to be a key player in the playoffs. However, I have gone with ever reliant Marcelinho. This guy can do everything, score, pass, assist, hold play up, literally everything. If Bengaluru want to keep a clean sheet against Pune and stop their threat, this is the guy they need to silence.
With all this being said, I will simply leave you with this. I expect the game to be a close encounter between two quality teams. Pune will be aware of Bengaluru’s attacking threat and equally, Bengaluru will be aware of Pune’s. This game could go either way and even though I would prefer a Pune win, I feel Bengaluru taking this 2-1. But I’m not doing so well in the prediction league so don’t take my expectations seriously.