Indian Super Cup 2018: Bengaluru FC troubled by key injuries ahead of opener against Gokulam Kerala FC
What's the story?
Bengaluru FC are set to take on Gokulam Kerala FC in the pre-quarters of the Super Cup 2018 but will be missing the services of defender Harmanjot Khabra and midfielder Dimas Delgado.
In case you didn't know...
Bengaluru FC finished at the top of the Indian Super League standings but lost out to Chennaiyin FC 3-2 in the finals held at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. Harmanjot Khabra and Dimas Delgado were vital to the success of the Blues in their first season in the ISL.
The heart of the matter
Bengaluru FC will begin their Super Cup campaign against I-League giant-killers Gokulam Kerala FC in the pre-quarters at the Kalinga Stadium in Orissa.
The two-time I-League and Fed Cup champions will be without the injured duo of right-back Harmanjot Khabra and central midfielder Dimas Delgado, who haven't completely recovered from their knocks picked up during the ISL. Albert Roca will have to rotate his squad for the match as the Blues also have an AFC Cup Group match against Aizawl FC on Thursday away in Guwahati.
“The closing stages of the ISL were tough because many of my players played those games when they weren’t in their best shape. We’re still missing (Harmanjot) Khabra and Dimas (Delgado), who are recovering from their injuries," said Roca on the eve of the match. "With the AFC Cup games in between, I will have to rotate my squad and use as many players as I can.”
Gokulam Kerala FC had faced Bengaluru in the pre-season in two closed-door friendlies at the club training facility in Bellary, Karnataka. The Kozhikode-based club defeated ISL franchise NorthEast United FC in the Super Cup qualifiers to set up the main draw clash with the Blues.
Bengaluru FC will take to the field against Gokulam Kerala FC in the Round of 16 fixture of the Super Cup on April 1, 2018, and then move to Guwahati to face Aizawl FC on April 5, 2018.
Albert Roca, the Bengaluru FC manager has his work cut out ahead of the two crucial fixtures and will have to utilize the bench strength to work around the dilemma of missing key players.