The winger nicknamed the ‘Flash’ put on a stellar second half show that sank the Blasters in a late surge from the Blues.
It was the fixture that saw maximum bookings being done the moment the schedule was announced. The banter from both sides had reached its apex and it was billed as the match to watch. While the Blues had taken maximum points from the New Year’s Eve fixture in Kochi, a revived Blasters under David James were expected to provide a stern examination to the Blues. What was threatening to be a dour 0-0 ended with a late assault on goal by the home side resulting in a 2-0 victory for the ISL league leaders.
A game which didn’t see the custodian being troubled at all by a Kerala attack that was kept at bay by a relatively new defence.
Rahul Bheke– 6.5
Play him at centre half, right back or left back, he has proven to be an absolutely undroppable player for Roca. Did not get forward as much as the regular right back Harmanjot Khabra would have but made some vital interceptions and read the threat of Prashant well
Subhashish Bose– 6.5
Another Indian player who has blossomed under Roca, Subhashish was entrusted alongside Erik Paartalu to keep CK Vineeth and Baldvinsson at bay which he did with aplomb.
Nishu Kumar– 6.5
The back 3 ensured that he didn’t have too many defensive responsbilities and was seen regularly bombing down the left flank with Chhetri. Skied a good opportunity in the first half but a good game overall for the young left back.
Nishu Kumar had a fantastic chance to give Bengaluru FC the lead
Lenny Rodrigues– 6.5
The midfielder has rediscovered his mojo in the last few games and his value was on full display here again as he kept possession and protected the back 3 superbly with his positioning and accurate reading of the game. His battle with Arata was a tactician’s delight.
Boithang Haokip– 6.0
Preferred over the speedy Udanta, he gave a good account of himself with his speed, but lacked the incisivness of Udanta. Was unfortunate not to have finished the game as he picked up an injury and was replaced by Udanta.
Sunil Chhetri– 6.5
Tight angle for Chhetri, who couldn’t keep his shot down!
The captain was clearly in the mood to give the fans something to cheer about as he chased each ball with equal vigour and purpose. Could have done better on two occasions involving Lenny on the overlap and was replaced late into the second half, but gave Rino Anto a tough time on the Kerala right flank.
Udanta Singh– 7.0
The Flash made a telling contribution after he replaced Boithang and was rewarded with a late second goal for the Blues. It is clear what he brings to the team as his introduction immediately saw the full backs moving toward the touchline a lot more and opening up spaces as opposed to their first half approach of staying close to the center halves.
Udanta scored with his weaker foot yet with great precision
Alwyn George– NA
Did not have enough minutes on the pitch to make a telling contribution.
Sandesh Jhingan– 6.5
An emotional return to his former stomping ground for the Punjab lad. He was seen constantly marshalling his defence alongside Wes Brown. Kept a close eye on Miku and Chhetri and was unlucky to be on the losing side after such a fine performance.
Rino Anto– 5.5
A performance he would want to forget from the former Bengaluru right back. Got into some good crossing positions but his final delivery was found wanting. The one time he did punt in a dangerous cross, he was unluckily flagged offside.
The support from the fans was extraordinary
Kept up with the speedy Boithang and managed to nullify his influence. Got forward on a few occasions, but was unable to provide quality service to CK Vineeth and Baldvinsson.
Arata Izumi– 7.0
The midfielder was seen dictating play for the visitors when they had dominant period in the first half when they effectively pegged Bengaluru back. His distribution was in full view as he spread the play very well across both flanks as the Blasters attempted to stretch the back 3 across the width of the pitch with Nishu and Bheke higher up. Replaced by youngster Sahal Samad late in the second half as he tired.
Milan Singh– 5.5
Was overrun by a dominant Dimas and Lenny and could not provide effective cover for Arata whose influence could have been more.
Deependra Negi– 6.0
An outing not short on effort from the youngster on the right hand side of a 3-man midfield. Was expected to keep an eye on Chhetri and Nishu which was always a tough ask even for the most experienced of players. Gave a good account of himself.
CK Vineeth– 6.0
Another former Blue who is now a part of the Blasters ranks. He was expected to trouble the backline with his height and tenacity. He and his strike partner Baldvinsson got in each other’s way often especially seen when Jackichand’s dangerous cut back begged for a finish from a Kerala player after he had taken out the entire Bengaluru defence.
Jackichand Singh– 6.5
Looked the only player who threatened the Bengaluru defence with his pace and trickery. Was in the same wavelength as Arata who kept finding him with his passes. Was unfortunate to be injured early in the game and was replaced by Prashant.
Prashant K– 5.5
Was sent in early in the game for the injured Jackichand, but was unable to replicate the threat of the man he replaced.
The youngster replaced Arata and did not make much of a dent on the game.