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Talking points from Bengaluru FC's maiden ISL win

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Talking points from Bengaluru FC's maiden ISL win

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SportsCafe Desk


Bengaluru FC opened their ISL campaign with a win, thanks to an exceptional display by Sunil Chhetri, as they defeated Mumbai City FC 2-0 on their home turf. However, while fans will be thrilled with the win, the players need to have a hard look at themselves after today's wasteful display.

The Showstopper - Captain, Leader, and a relentless general

While Bengaluru FC was bound to dominate things at their fortress despite being a newbie to the tournament, the one player who actually made the side lethal was Sunil Chhetri. The skipper was in the thick of things for almost every move. Alongside Nicolas Fedor, the Indian skipper was fierce and tireless in his mission. Mumbai FC had started things safely in the first-half absorbing Bengaluru’s strengths and before they realised, they had two of their enforcers busy covering one man - Sunil Chhetri. With Bengaluru understandably enjoying the lion’s share of the possession, Chhetri alone shouldered half of their responsibilities in the attacking third.

In the first-half, he had 17 touches, which was enough for him to create two real chances and one brilliant interception that almost led to a scoring opportunity. With 69% passing accuracy, the 33-year-old was a buzzing bee in Mumbai FC’s defence, who couldn’t be ignored or get rid off, and could sting from the unlikeliest of chances. One of his phenomenal qualities that hardly gets applauded is his intelligent positioning when on the counter. However, a wasteful Udanta Singh on the right flank and some masterful defending by Mumbai’s Marcio Rozario and Lucian Goian made sure he remained harmless early in the game.

Chhetri was rightly adjudged the ‘Hero’ of the game even before he got his name on the scoresheet very late in the game, which was the icing on the cake for the Bengaluru FC supporters.   

Mumbai City FC’s staunch defence the only positive

Alexandre Guimaraes’ tactics didn’t reflect too much attacking intent in their opening game and one wouldn’t blame if the manager wanted to measure the depth of his opponents. Mumbai’s resolve to defend well was further slashed into half as they had to take off Leo Costa in the eighteenth minute leaving a large gap in their midfield that Achille Edzimbi could never fill. The absence of an experienced defensive midfielder had a direct toll in Rozario and Goian as the duo remained breathless in their job throughout the game until Rozario was taken off in the second half, which was eventually followed by Bengaluru’s goal.

The duo had played a quintessential role in helping Mumbai reach the playoffs last season, which led the manager to retain them, and it looks like the only good decision he has made so far. The duo made 8 interceptions, 2 blocks and 4 clearances with a passing accuracy of 60% between them and while one of the goals conceded could have been well avoided, Guimaraes would like to take it as the only positive into their next game.   

Bengaluru FC’s inability to finish things off a source of worry

A 2-0 score on the board might look like a convincing victory to many but don’t let it deceive you. Despite being the newcomers to the league, Bengaluru FC has one of the more experienced sides in the tournament, because of the number of players that have been playing together at the club for years. Their credit is further robbed by the fact that they could score just two goals from open play despite having 16 attempts at goal. Mumbai hardly came to the game with a winning mentality, which was reflective in their style of play throughout the game. They managed just one shot one shot on goal in the entire 90 minutes and the absence of Leo Costa was evident in their unstructured midfield.

Bengaluru FC had 56% of the possession and decent 58.3% passing accuracy, which was enough to see them create and dissect Mumbai’s defence quite effortlessly for major part of the game. The likes of Lenny Rodrigues, Udanta Singh, and Miku squandered chances galore in possibly one of the most one-sided game they will play in their campaign this year.

Hence, while they could be given a pat on the back for starting it off with a win, Sunil Chhetri’s goal celebration pretty much reflects their performance on the night.

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