ISL 2017: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in line to make ISL debut against Mumbai City FC
What's the story?
Ahead of their team's Indian Super League opener on Saturday, there is both good and bad news for Bengaluru FC fans. The bad news is that goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte has suffered an injury in training and will miss the club's first game ever in the ISL against Mumbai City.
However, the big news for the Blues is that this means that national team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is likely to replace Ralte between the sticks and make his much-awaited ISL debut.
In case you didn't know
The Indian no.1 was signed by Bengaluru during the summer transfer window from Norwegian club, Stabaek FC. He has already made four appearances for the Blues in the AFC inter-zonal knockout games and is now ready to make his appearance in the ISL.
The heart of the matter
Bengaluru FC had already signed 18 Indian players before the deal for Sandhu was finalized. Hence, the custodian was included in the reserve team with the two time I-League winners already signing three goalkeepers in the form of Ralte, Calvin Abhishek and Abhra Mondal.
The conditions for Sandhu to play for the Blues were that the Indian international could have started directly after the club had played five matches in the ISL or the other option being that if one of the three custodians picked up a knock.
Sources close to the club have confirmed that Ralte has suffered a slight injury and hence, Sandhu is in line for a place in the starting XI.
Bengaluru FC will be looking to win the ISL in the first time of asking just as they had managed in the I-League. With a strong squad at their disposal along with an experienced coach in the form of Albert Roca, the Blues from Karnataka can go a long way in ISL Season 4.
Ralte's injury can prove to be a blessing in disguise for Bengaluru FC as it gives Gurpreet Singh Sandhu his chance to make his mark in the ISL. The commanding goalkeeper has been one of the best players for his country in the recent past and will now be looking to extend his good run into the country's elite league competition.