Bengaluru FC will look to get its first win of the 2023 Super Cup when it faces RoundGlass Punjab FC in its second Group A encounter, at the EMS Stadium, in Kozhikode, on Wednesday.
The Blues, who began their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Sreenidi Deccan last Saturday, will look to get three points on board to boost their chances of making it to the knockout round, ahead of their final encounter against the Kerala Blasters.
“There were positives from the last game, including (Lalremtluanga) Fanai’s debut. In each game, we need to be better than the last one, so everyone’s focused and knows what needs to be done. The mood is positive, and we’ve got some good team spirit going on as well,” said Bengaluru FC Head Coach Simon Grayson on the eve of the fixture, which will also be the first competitive meeting between the two sides.
RoundGlass Punjab, which was crowned champion of the 2022-23 I-League, started its campaign with a 3-1 defeat against Kerala Blasters in its opening fixture. But, Staikos Vergetis’ side contains a good balance of experience and youth and has proven its credentials in the I-League last season.
The Warriors conceded only 16 goals and kept 11 clean sheets in the I-League last season, the best defensive record in the division. Bengaluru FC will bank on the services of Sunil Chhetri, Roy Krishna and Javi Hernandez, who started the Blues’ Super Cup opener and contributed to as many as half of the Blues’ goals in the Indian Super League.
The clash between the Blues’ backline and Punjab’s attacking duo of Luka Majcen (16 goals) and Juan Mera (10 goals) will be one to watch out for. “RoundGlass Punjab are a very good team. They won the league last season, and although they lost their last game, they have some good players and play good football, so we won’t be taking the game lightly,” said Grayson when asked about the Blues’ opponents.
Not one to tinker with his squad, it remains to be seen if Grayson makes any changes to his eleven to start the clash on Wednesday. “We will assess and see who is available and who isn’t to see if chances can be given to some other players as well, because we have good strength on our bench as well, with players like Udanta (Singh) and Pablo (Perez),” said Grayson.
The two teams will await the result of the game between Kerala Blasters and Sreenidi Deccan, which is set to happen at 5 PM and could have a bearing on the later game. Nonetheless, a win on Wednesday night will take Simon Grayson’s men to four points, which would keep them in the hunt for a spot in the knockouts.