Indian Super League points table leaders Bengaluru FC host Kerala Blasters in one of the biggest football matches of the season. The rivalry between the South Indian teams has been long in the making and the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore will be witness to history on Friday, March 1.
Majority of tickets for the match got sold out like hot cakes by the end of 2017 itself and the match is officially sold out. For the first time ever, a BFC match at the stadium will see a packed capacity.
The banter at the stands no doubt will be at an all-time high but the coaches of the respective teams, Albert Roca (Bengaluru FC) and David James (Kerala Blasters) have urged the fans to conduct themselves in a proper manner before/during/after the match.
Kerala Blasters' hopes for making it to the ISL knockout stages hit further roadblock after FC Goa won against ATK on Wednesday. Bengaluru FC, FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC have already qualified for the top four.
"Even a 1-0 win does the job for us," Kerala Blasters coach David James mentioned in the pre-match press conference. He meanwhile refused to reveal whether Bulgarian football star Dimitar Berbatov will be fielded as a midfielder or forward in the match.
"We have a full-strength squad. That means every player is available for selection and it's down to how the squad plays," James added. "We are playing a different opposition in Bengaluru. That is why they are so far apart in the league. So, the team selection would be based on how to nullify Bengaluru's strength."
BFC coach Roca expects a lively game and a stunning atmosphere.
"I hope we play a good game and everyone enjoys the show. I like the rivalry. It has to be there. It is what creates the passion in football," the Spanish coach said.
"This type of rivalry is also good for Indian football; to shout and share the banter in a good way. The fans should support the teams as much as they can, but in a right way."
Bengaluru FC vs Kerala Blasters
Date: March 1
Time: 8 pm IST
Venue: Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru
TV guide: India - Star Sports 2/HD, Star Sports Hindi 1/HD, Star Sports 3, Star Gold, Star UTSAV, Jalsha Movies, Suvarna Plus.
Live stream: India - Hotstar, Jio TV
Live score: Twitter