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ISL final: Bengaluru FC vs Chennaiyin FC - Players to watch out for

Bengaluru FC take on former champions Chennaiyin FC in the final of the 2017-18 Indian Super League (ISL). A look at the top players who will be crucial to their team’s chances

football Updated: Mar 17, 2018 14:17 IST
Bhargab Sarmah
Bhargab Sarmah
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bengaluru FC vs Chennaiyin FC,Indian Super League,ISL 2017-18
Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri shakes hands with his counterpart Chennaiyin FC's Jeje Lalpekhlua during a pre-Indian Super League (ISL) final press conference in Bengaluru on Friday.(PTI)

Chennaiyin FC stand in the way as Bengaluru FC seek a triumphant conclusion to what has been a remarkable maiden campaign in the Indian Super League in Bengaluru on Saturday.

READ | Will it be home disadvantage for Bengaluru FC vs Chennaiyin FC in ISL final?

Here we look at the top players who can make a difference in the title clash.

Bengaluru FC: players to watch out for

Miku: Venezuelan forward Miku has been crucial to Bengaluru FC’s run to the final of the Indian Super League in their debut season in the competition. With 14 goals from 19 games, he has formed a formidable partnership with club captain Sunil Chhetri up front. Because of his high work rate, as well as his ability to drop deep or switch to the flanks, he can create space and opportunities for teammates in the final third. His versatility up front has helped the likes of Chhetri and Udanta contribute significantly to Bengaluru’s attacks.

READ | How Chennaiyin FC, Bengaluru FC used long-term planning to reach ISL final

Sunil Chhetri: Sunil Chhetri has delivered time and again for Bengaluru FC during his five seasons at the club, scoring crucial goals in some off the biggest games they have played in. At 33, the India skipper has featured prominently in a season where Bengaluru FC have made mincemeat of the competition in the ISL. With 13 goals and two assists, he has been a vital cog in Bengaluru’s wheel. Having scored a hat-trick in the semi-final second leg against FC Pune City, Chhetri’s confidence will be sky-high ahead of Saturday’s final.

READ | Bengaluru FC’s strengths, weaknesses ahead of ISL final vs. Chennaiyin FC

Dimas Delgado: Bengaluru’s midfield engine Dimas Delgado has quietly gone about his business in the ISL this season. An intelligent passer of the ball, Delgado has combined well with Eric Paartalu to provide solidity at the centre of the pitch and act as a shield in front of Bengaluru’s defence. The Spaniard also doesn’t shy away from moving forward and contributing to the team’s attack. Along with Paartalu, Delgado has helped Albert Roca’s side control the tempo of games which has held them in good stead throughout their campaign.

READ | ISL final between Chennaiyin FC, Bengaluru FC brings India’s best to the fore

Chennaiyin FC: players to watch out for

Jeje Lalpekhlua: Jeje Lalpekhlua ended his six-game goal drought with a brace against FC Goa in the second leg of Chennaiyin FC’s semi-final win on Tuesday. The Mizo forward has been instrumental to the club’s campaign and leads their goal-scoring charts with nine strikes in 19 appearances. He had scored at the Kanteerava Stadium earlier this season when Chennaiyin inflicted Bengaluru FC their first ever home defeat in ISL. He had also lifted the I-League trophy at the venue three years back when Mohun Bagan famously drew 1-1 to snatch the title from Bengaluru’s hands.

READ | Chennaiyin FC’s strengths, weaknesses ahead of ISL final vs. Bengaluru FC

Henrique Sereno: Chennaiyin FC skipper Henrique Sereno has been the backbone of what has been a defensively disciplined campaign from the club this season. Part of the ATK side that won the ISL title last season, Sereno has provided a major boost to Chennaiyin this term. While the club has struggled for goals on occasions, they have kept things tight at the back, frustrating opponents boasting of powerful attacking resources. Sereno has been at the heart of this backline and his ability to read the game has helped the team maintain solidity at the back throughout the campaign.

READ | Indian Super League final, Bengaluru FC vs Chennaiyin FC: Know the coaches

Raphael Augusto: Part of the Chennaiyin side that had won the ISL title in 2015, Raphael Augusto is in his third season at the club. The Brazilian midfielder’s creativity is key to making the Chennaiyin attack tick, while he also possesses the ability to unleash powerful shots from distance. In a side that banks of defensive solidity, Augusto often drops deep to help nip the opposition’s attacks. Augusto hasn’t been a regular scorer this season, but has been a constant threat going forward and will hope to keep the supply line open to Jeje in the final.

First Published: Mar 17, 2018 10:16 IST