Bengaluru FC takes on Chennaiyin FC in their Indian Super League (ISL) 2018-19 opener at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday, September 30.
When does the match start and how to watch it live
The ISL 2018-19 match between Bengaluru and Chennaiyin will start at 7:30 pm IST and 2 pm BST.
Star Sports 1, Star Sports Hindi and Star Sports Tamil will provide live television coverage of the match. The live stream will be on Hotstar and Jio TV.
What to expect from the match
There has been quite a lot of buzz around this fixture as there is a growing rivalry between the two finalists from last ISL season. With the tie being dubbed as the Southern derby, both Bengaluru and Chennaiyin would be playing for early-season bragging rights.
Chennaiyin, as coach John Gregory pointed out, will have good memories of the venue as they had won last season's title here after beating the hosts 3-2 in the final on March 17. The Marina Machchans were also victorious (2-0) during their league stage trip to the Garden City.
The defending champions will be hoping to start the season on a high and a win over Bengaluru will help them lay down an early marker.
Barring Dhanapal Ganesh, who is expected to miss at least first five matches of the season, Chennaiyin have a fully fit squad, which had its pre-season tour in Malaysia.
All eyes will be on Chennaiyin backline as it is packed with experienced foreigners. While center-back Mailson Alves will lead the side after the departure of Henrique Sereno, Brazilian Eli Sabia comes in, adding solidity to the defence.
20-year-old Anirudh Thapa, who went on to make his senior team debut after a good showing for Chennaiyin last season, will look to seal his place in the midfield.
BFC not thinking of revenge: Cuadrat
On the other hand, Bengaluru will not be thinking of revenge but will be focussed on clinching three points, according to newly-appointed coach Carles Cuadrat.
"If you talk about revenge, you are not getting the reality of the football game. We have been working on tactics and have the emotional quotient under control. It was a final. We are starting from the first game here. We have to try and be better than them on the football pitch. It's not about the opponent," Cuadrat told the media on the eve of the big encounter.
There will be a considerable amount of pressure on Cuadrat himself as the assistant of former coach Albert Roca is gearing up for his first stint as the full-time coach of a senior professional team.
Seasoned campaigners, including captain Sunil Chhetri and Juanan, need to assume leadership roles to make them continue playing the brand of football they are known for.
While they have managed to retain the core of their side, BFC have added some exciting talents to their squad.
Former Minerva Punjab winger Chencho Gyeltshen, known for his pace and goal-scoring abilities, has joined the side. A lot is expected of Spanish midfielder Francisco Hernandez, who is likely to make his league debut in their opener.
Team News - Predicted starting lineups
Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet; Anto, Bheke, Juanan, Nishu; Udanta, Paartalu, Dimas, Francisco; Chhetri; Miku.
Chennaiyin FC: Karanjit; Calderon, Mailson, Eli Sabia, Jerry; Germanpreet, Thapa; Francis, Augusto, Nelson; Jeje.