Bengaluru FC played out an entertaining match against Chennaiyin FC on Sunday that had everything to offer – tactical shrewdness, a stunning goal, fast paced counters, and a deserving result. However, in doing so, both teams revealed too much for others to exploit them in the upcoming months.
Carles Cuadrat transforms harmless players into crucial weapons
Jamie Carragher had famously said: “If you're a fullback, you're either a failed
Starting with a conventional 4-2-3-1, Chennaiyin had no concerns whatsoever at a glance. The Marina
John Gregory gets Jeje Lalpekhlua’s free-flowing role on target
Bengaluru and Chennaiyin are amongst the very few teams in ISL, who haven’t opted for a complete overhaul of the squad this season thereby showing faith in their core. However, persisting with the same team from last season has its disadvantages as well, as your opponent would have a detailed scout report of the team’s setup and how every player is used. For a moderately offensive team like Chenniayin FC, Jeje Lalpekhlua was pretty much the biggest threat going forward and he had to present his forward veiled in a different look for the same role.
Jeje’s USP has always been his relentless energy in the attacking third and the fact that he could score only seven goals last season showed that Gregory had failed to get the best out of him. Hence, the Supermachans saw
Chennaiyin fail to read Bengaluru’s monotonous approach
Though Bengaluru was leading the match at half-time with a late strike by Miku, Chennaiyin fans were still quite optimistic about the final outcome. While Bengaluru’s winless record against Chennai at home was one prime reason for it, the other more evident guess was the kind of play they had seen in the first half. At halftime, Chennaiyin were leading the possession by 58% to hosts’ 42% and one couldn’t write it off as futile for Jeje had missed two sure shot chances to give his team the lead. The Supermachans had every reason to believe that their team was on the right path and it seemed that had kept they kept on persisting with it, the visitors would have returned home with a draw at the least. And although the outcome relied a lot on Chennaiyin’s wasted chances, the biggest reason was Cuadrat’s safe approach.
Both the halves saw Bengaluru’s starting move being a long ball right into Chennaiyin’s box and the hosts were taking this route more often than not. Make no mistake, in terms of keeping the ball, Bengaluru had enough players to execute it well, but if they had learnt one thing from last year’s final it was - possession meant nothing. Hence, Bengaluru’s starting move was to push five players up top and placing the long ball on the heads of the central defenders. Their clearance was more often than not under pressure and Bengaluru consequently got the ball high up the field in no time. One more reason to take repeated attempts at it was Chennai’s much-improved ground play from last season, but it was surprising to see Gregory not paying much heed to it. Having players like Augusto and Jerry Lalrinzuala wide of the field, the
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