If the first-leg of the playoffs was a thrilling one, the second-leg which is being hosted in Bengaluru’s Fortress Sree Kanteerava stadium is bound to be a nail-biting one as the Blues host the NorthEast United in the Indian Super League on Monday.
Bengaluru go into the second leg of the playoffs with a 2-1 disadvantage but have on their side their biggest support – the home crowd. The Blues have time and again risen to the occasion in difficult fixtures at their home stadium and with the final spot at stake, will give it their all to make it to their second consecutive final as they fight the Highlanders.
The hosts will have to make the most of the away goal scored by Xisco Hernandez in Guwahati as he made an immediate impact to the first leg after his substitution. However, Carles Cuadrat’s side have a lot to worry about as they continued their poor form of run with just one win in the last five games.
“We’re ready for a big game. We’re in a good mood and we have the feeling that here in Kanteerava in front of the supporters, we can give them one of the nights that we will remember through the years,” said Cuadrat a day ahead of the deciding leg.
The first leg was a game of two halves – Redeem Tlang opened the scoring in the 20th minute to give NEUFC, who were playing their first playoffs in ISL history, the lead but struggled after key players Bartholomew Ogbeche and Rowllin Borges got injured. They, however, came out as the winning team courtesy a late penalty by Juan Mascia.
NEUFC coach Eelco Schattorie knows they have a big task cut out despite going into the game with advantage as the side aim to make history by booking a maiden final spot. “I know exactly how Bengaluru FC play and they know how we play. Last game, first half we completely dominated. We lost two key players. Second half was way more difficult. But it had to with the changes we did in the team. But coming here we know that this is a game that is all or nothing. We will be trying to reach the final,” said Schattorie.
The visitors will pin their hopes on Federico Gallego, while Mascia will be the best replacedment for Ogbeche, who picked up a hamstring injury.