The Indian Super League is finally returning to the southeast coast after two years with a rip-roaring game between Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC expected here on Friday.
Both sides are coming into this game after winning their respective opening fixtures and will be aiming for full points to keep the momentum steady.
After securing a win against ATK Mohun Bagan, which was their first against the club in the ISL, Chennaiyin FC became the third team to reach 50 wins in the league. They also became the third team to reach the 200-goals milestone.
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In a game of contrasting halves against ATKMB, The Marina Machans were conservative in the first half. In the second half, they tried to stamp their authority and probed further into the final third. Head coach Thomas Brdaric’s substitutions played a vital role in his side’s triumph.
Brdaric decided to introduce Kwame Karikari into the game just before the hour-mark. It took the Ghanaian just three minutes to win a penalty.
Karikari himself netted the equaliser from the spot before setting up Rahim Ali with a delightful low cross for the winner in the 83rd minute. The Chennaiyin FC head coach said fitness played a key role.
Bengaluru FC are one win away from reaching the 50-wins milestone themselves. The Blues are unbeaten in their last six games against the Marina Machans. However, the visitors have won just one out of five games at the Marina Arena.
Last season, Bengaluru FC scored 32 goals in the league. Nineteen of the 32 goals were scored via set pieces.
The Blues kicked off the new season in a similar fashion as they scored the winning goal against NEUFC from a corner. Alan Costa scored his third goal when he nodded in the winner against NEUFC. All three of his goals in the have come from corners.
The Marina Machans and the Blues have faced each other on 11 occasions in the Hero ISL. Bengaluru FC have won six games while Chennaiyin FC have won three. Two games have ended in a draw.