Bengaluru FC will hope to end its barren five-match winless run in the 2023-24 Indian Super League when it welcomes Mumbai City FC to the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Friday.
Simon Grayson’s side lies in the bottom half of the table, with just seven points from eight matches. It is coming into the tie on the back of three successive draws, the longest streak in its ISL history. Another outing without three full points will not be ideal.
To avoid that, BFC has to be better than it was against Punjab FC, where a disastrous first half nearly cost the outfit the contest (3-3 draw). Mumbai City may not have played in the ISL for over a month and may have lost its League-winning coach Des Buckingham to English side Oxford United, but it is a formidable team that is yet to lose in the league this season.
“About Des leaving — it won’t be different than how it was when he was in charge,” Grayson said ahead of the game.
“Because they have a way of playing and the rest of the coaching staff is still in place. We know what to expect, the strengths and weaknesses of them.”
Mumbai City spent the last month playing in the AFC Champions League. Though it lost all matches, the experience of competing in the top-tier of Asian football will certainly leave the club richer.
“Resuming ISL is something that we are looking forward to,” said Anthony Fernandes, Mumbai City’s assistant coach. “The team is very well prepared for an away game. Since we had an ACL game four days back, it is more about recovery and rest.”
On its part, BFC can draw inspiration from its recent memory of outlasting Mumbai City three times on the bounce last season, including the all-important second leg of the semifinal. A fourth straight success can resurrect its campaign.