ISL Analysis | Spirited Bengaluru outrun Pune in second-half

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ISL Media

ISL Analysis | Spirited Bengaluru outrun Pune in second-half

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SportsCafe Desk

12/14/2017

Bengaluru showed an encouraging display to come back from a goal down to win 3-1 away at Balewadi Stadium, to hand FC Pune City their third consecutive home loss. The hosts got their tactics horribly wrong after Baljit Sahni’s red card as they failed miserably to hold off a relentless Bengaluru.

Bengaluru get things going in the second-half, again 

Despite being one of the more exciting teams in the ISL, Bengaluru don’t boast of players who dominate their opponents from the word go. They have been majorly reliant on pressurizing players into tight spaces and then outrunning them on quick counters. Coming at the den of FC Pune City, Bengaluru had a similar strategy which almost worked in the first-half before the referee decided otherwise.

Skipper Sunil Chhetri had got on the end of a lofted ball before Pune’s charging keeper, showing tremendous pace, and slotted it home before the referee called it a handball. The move was completely against the run of play as Pune enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession throughout the firs half and created numerous half-chances. The visiting players had enough reasons to be furious as Pune struck eight minutes later through Adil Khan.

However, to everyone’s surprise, Albert Roca decided to go stick with the same eleven in the second-half and the same tactics, which did the trick as they came back from a goal to win. This isn’t the first time that Bengaluru have come back stronger in the latter half of a game. Their opening game against Mumbai and later against Goa also saw Bengaluru coming to life in the second-half.

Have Bengaluru found a chink in Pune’s armour

This brings us to the second talking point of the game. After a first-half that saw everything going for Pune and the hosts leading by a goal, hardly had anyone thought that they would ultimately succumb to their ongoing curse of home turf. There could be two possibilities- either they ran out of fuel in keeping up with Bengaluru’s incessant running in the first-half, or their style of play is too susceptible to high-pressing counter attacks.

Bengaluru kept a high defence line in the second-half preventing Bengaluru from reaching the 30-yard box on most occasions, unlike the first-half, while the attacking trio of Udanta Singh, Sunil Chhetri, and Miku creating ruckus up front. The possession was overturned soon with Bengaluru raining in crosses and all of a sudden, Pune’s brilliant passing went out of the window.

Though Baljit Sahni’s silly foul and the red-card that followed it, helped Bengaluru massively, Pune would have hardly escaped Bengaluru’s onslaught anyway. Even before the sent-off, Pune looked on shaky grounds and on the brink of conceding goals. Have Bengaluru given enough grounds for other teams to exploit against Pune?

The Showstopper

Without a doubt, Sunil Chhetri has been Bengaluru’s key man in the comeback. Since the first-half, which saw his brilliant solo effort being denied by the official, the wideman has shown sparks of brilliance. After his match-winning display against Mumbai in the opening game, Chhetri hasn’t been his scintillating best as he ended up just filling up the place in the team.

However, he looked like a man on a mission today, crossing acres of grounds with his unparalleled stamina and having an effective passing accuracy of 61% under despite being under constant pressure by the Pune defenders. He had 3 shots on target with one going in but the way he was making spaces to build up his shot looked amazing at the time.

Though Pune’s constant defence rendered his crosses ineffective, Chhetri’s will to make things happen up front, no matter the scoreline, will need to be a huge asset for Bengaluru if they are to make history in their maiden ISL campaign. 

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