The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) is back for its sixth season. The ISL saw an exciting opening fixture take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday. Kerala Blasters came from behind to secure a 2-1 win over ATK, courtesy of a brace from Bartholomew Ogbeche. Monday's fixture sees reigning ISL champions Bengaluru FC take on NorthEast United at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
Sunil Chettri's Bengaluru FC have taken the ISL by storm, ever since their debut season in 2017-18. Carles Cuadrat, manager of Bengaluru FC and protege of his predecessor, Albert Roca, has managed to keep hold of the core of his title-winning side, in the form of Sunil Chettri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Rahul Bheke and Udanta Singh forming a strong Indian contingent in the side. While there have been some outgoings for the Bengaluru-based side in the former of prolific striker Miku and Xisco Hernandez, there have also been some quality incomings like Spanish striker Manuel Onwu, former Chennaiyin midfielder and two-time ISL winner Raphael Augusto, fan-favourite Eugeneson Lyngdoh and highly-rated former Pune City winger Ashique Kuruniyan.
NorthEast United, on the other hand, have their own acquisitions to boast of. Uruguayan striker Martin Chaves and Argentine forward Maximiliano Barreiro have been roped in to add some firepower to Robert Jarni's side. However, NorthEast United do have an ace up their sleeves in arguably this season's most high-profile signing, Asamoah Gyan. There have been changes galore at NorthEast United, both, in the form of personnel and management. Sunil Chettri and co. therefore, will have to be on their toes, as they take on an unpredictable side.
NorthEast United will have to be wary of the fact that Bengaluru FC were the only unbeaten side at home last season. However, Asamoah Gyan and co. will fancy their chances against the reigning champions due to the fact that the Guwahati-based side picked up 17 points away from home last season; the most by any side. It's hard to see a clear winner in this game. However, Bengaluru FC have won all their opening fixtures in the ISL seasons so far, so expect a cracker of a game.
Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Rahul Bheke, Albert Serran, Juanan, Nishu Kumar, Dimas Delgado, Harmanjot Khabra, Udanta Singh, Raphael Augusto, Sunil Chhetri, Manuel Onwu
NorthEast United FC: Pawan Kumar (GK), Provat Lakra, Kai Heerings, Mislav Komorski, Shouvik Ghosh, Jose Leudo, Milan Singh, Redeem Tlang, Panagiotis Triadis, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Asamoah Gyan
7:30 pm kickoff, IST
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