News Article

I-League Season Review: Bengaluru FC

Written by: Srinivasan

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The Garden City club got off to a whirlwind start to the season, but saw a slump in form that extended all the way till the fag end of the I-League campaign...

The Steelmen had a change of guard at the end of the last I-League campaign with popular manager Ashley Westwood calling an end to his time at the club and gave the club the perfect farewell present with a second I-League title. Former Barcelona assistant coach Albert Roca was hired to continue the Englishman's good work and he didn't disappoint by leading the southerners to the Final of the AFC Cup, the first Indian club to ever achieve that. The success set high expectations ahead of Roca's first full I-League campaign.

Although they picked up where they left off last season by winning their first three games at home without conceding, the wheels began to come off after away defeats to East Bengal and Churchill Brothers put the pressure right back on the then reigning champions. The Spaniard managed to find a winning formula in the I-League when there was no chance for the team to challenge for the title. He will hope that the next season will bring about a change in fortunes for the southern giants.                                  

 Fact Sheet for I-League 2017



 Season Finish:
 4th

 Games Played: 18

Won : 8 

Lost : 4

Drawn : 6

Win %: 44.4% 

   GF: 30 

GA: 15

 

Pre-Season

 

The Blues were a busy lot in the transfer window bringing in a sizeable number of players to add depth to a squad that would need to compete on two fronts. Harmanjot Khabra, Lenny Rodrigues, Sandesh Jhingan, Arindam Bhattacharya and Mandar Rao Desai arrived at Bengaluru in addition to Roby Norales and Marjan Jugovic. Influential midfielder Alvaro Rubio returned to Spain after the end of his loan spell.

Top 3 Players

 

Sunil Chhetri
Udanta Singh
John Johnson

In a disappointing campaign by the Blues and India captain's standards, he shone like a beacon of hope like he always has since he joined the club in 2013. The 32-year old looked fitter than ever as he gave everything to the team's cause. He looked uncomfortable initially in Roca's new system but the Spaniard found a system which allowed the talisman to unleash his full reportoire of skills which saw him pick up the Hero of the League award at the end of the season.

The 20-year old was one of the high points of the season for Roca. The Mumbai City FC winger was a regular feature in the Spaniard's line-ups as he impressed many a fan with his direct running on the right flank and willingness to chase down seemingly lost causes. His efforts saw him score three goals, but the number does not do justice to the impact he had on the team. 

It was no surprise that Bengaluru's slump co-incided with the Englishman's absence from the first team. The 29-year old was one of Ashley Westwood's first signings in 2013. The former Middlesborough centre half is a born leader in the backline and was always a threat for the Blues during set pieces. He did not have any goals to show for this season, but his partnership with Juanan and Sandesh Jhingan added much needed solidity to an otherwise shaky defence. 

Games: 16
Goals: 7

Assists: 4

 

Games: 17
Goals: 3

Assists: 2


Games: 12
Cleansheet: 7

 

Flop of the Season 


Eugeneson LyngdohThe former Shillong Lajong man had a poor season where he was unable to exert his usual influence on the side. The 29-year old, often seen weaving his magic in tandem with Chhetri, was played at different positions in the side in an attempt to bring out the best in the medio. Although there were sparks of his old form, he was unable to strike the same influence he had in the previous season.
 


Lyngdoh's performance in I-League 2016-17

Games: 15

Goals : 1

Assist: 1

 

Top 3 Performances

 

  1.   Bengaluru FC 7-0 DSK Shivajians ( Match Report and Highlights) 




  2. Bengaluru FC 3-0 Shillong Lajong FC (Match Report and Highlights)





  3. Bengaluru FC 3-0 Mumbai FC (Match Report and Highlights)

 

 

Manager's Report Card 

 

It was always going to be a tough ask for any boss that stepped into the huge void left by Ashley Westwood at Bengaluru. The Englishman had laid a strong foundation for the club with his work ethic and never-say-die attitude coupled with a penchant for attacking football. Albert Roca's signing was met with optimism as this was the man who had worked in close quarters with the likes of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta at Barcelona.

The Spaniard did not disappoint as he led the club to their first ever AFC Cup Final. However it was in the league that Roca was found wanting. Moving to a more patient possession based approach led to the team becoming too predictable in their pattern of play. There was a refusal to look beyond the first team save a few minor changes. Only in the fag end of the season did Roca hit upon a winning system that saw his charges click into gear. Any new coach would need time to get accustomed to the type of football, pitches and quality of players available to him. While they are still very much alive in the AFC Cup, Roca will be expected to deliver the I-League crown next season at the very least.  

 

Lessons to be Learned

 

While most of the transfers that Roca made this season got sufficient game time, there was confusion in terms of the foreign recruitment. Roby Norales was signed first, played in two games and released to Ozone FC. Marjan Jugovic was brought on board in the middle of the season and Cornell Glenn is the latest overseas import to the club. With the exception of Gursimrat Gill and Nishu Kumar, there was little to suggest that Roca would blood more youngsters into the team. 

While the Blues' new possession based approach looks easy on the eye, it needs to translate into goals and ultimately three points. The initial half of the season saw the team try to pass their way into goal. While this worked against relatively weaker opposition, the likes of East Bengal, Churchill Brothers and Mohun Bagan hit the Blues on the counter and it paid dividends. A healthy combination of Route 1 football and possession is what the team needs to go back to if they are to find more than one way to break down an opposition team.

Fanview

 


Apur Deshpande, BFC Fan

 

'This was my first season where I started following Bengaluru FC. I have heard about the club's success before this and it was a surreal experience seeing such high quality football being played in a city where I have lived almost my entire life. Yes we didn't get the results we deserved, but I am sure that we will bounce back more confidently next season. We are still up and running in the AFC Cup. The last few games of the I-League campaign were a return to form for us. So I am confident we will see a more stronger Bengaluru FC next season." 

Published: Fri May 05, 2017 10:28 PM IST

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