Indian Player Ratings: Bheke's poor performance overshadowed only by Germanpreet's industry
Written by: Srinivasan
A repeat of last season's final saw a reversal of the result as the Blues came out on top against the Marina Machans.
Carles Cuadrat's first game in charge of Bengaluru FC was a fruitful one as he saw his side trump John Gregory's Chennayin FC 1-0 thanks to a Miku thunderbolt in the first half. The sides which contested last season's final in Bengaluru gave a good account of themselves in both halves, but in the end, the Blues' clinical finishing was the difference between the two sides.
Watch: Bengaluru FC 1-0 Chennaiyin FC highlights
Here are our Indian player ratings for the day.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu- 6.0
Decided to take a page out of Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson's book as he turned out in a bright pink kit. Parried away a Gregory Nelson free-kick in the first half and was livid at his defence when they switched off during Nelson's slide-rule pass which set up a one-on-one chance for Chennayin to open the scoring. Dealt with a fierce goalbound shot by Nelson rather awkwardly just before the end of regulation time, but organized his defence well to hold onto a clean-sheet.
Rahul Bheke - 4.5
If there was someone who would win an award for being a bundle of nerves in the game, Bheke would have been the winner by a mile. It started with a misplaced square pass in midfield and then he completely lost Nelson who set up Chennayin's best chance. Could not offer support to Udanta like he usually does with his overlapping runs as is expected from a Bengaluru full-back.
Nishu Kumar - 6.0
Francis Fernandes' running nullified his influence in the full-back positions and prevented him from poroviding support to Chhetri up front. His muted performance was more a credit to Gregory's successful tactics in shutting him down.
Harmanjot Khabra - 5.5
The Bengaluru utility man was deployed in midfield along with Australian giant Erik Paartalu. However, he was all at sea as he failed to check Rafael Augusto and Germanpreet Singh's influence in the game. He completely lost his man when Germanpreet ghosted into the area for Chennayin's big chance in the first half.
Udanta Singh - 6.5
The Bengaluru livewire had a tough time on his hands as he had to deal with a resilient Jerry Lalrinzuala. On the one occasion that he beat Jerry, he was hacked down by the Chennayin full-back who was very lucky to receive only a yellow card for a very strong challenge.
Sunil Chhetri - 6.0
The Bengaluru talisman was surprisingly quiet due to the combination of a very disciplined Inigo Calderon and Nishu Kumar's low influence on proceedings. He had a glorious chance in the second half when he appeared to have the measure of Calderon, but the Spanish veteran was on hand to nullify that opportunity.
Semboi Haokip - N/A
Came on too late in the game to have an impact and was used mostly to shore up the result.
Boithang Haokip - N/A
Used late in the game to provide fresh legs upfront and to help Bengaluru hold the ball up in the opposition half in order to wind down the clock.
Karanjit Singh- 6.5
The 32-year-old largely dealt with Bengaluru's threat quite comfortably. But, even he was helpless against the ferocity of Miku's goal. Besides this, he was mostly untroubled in the second half.
Jerry Lalrinzuala- 6.5
Watch: Jerry Lalrinzuala was one of the few standout players for the visitors
It's hard to believe that he's just 20. The full-back has come on leaps and bounds under Gregory's tutelage and was a primary factor in negating the influence of the pacy Udanta, which forced Bengaluru to look for attacking channels more centrally. However, he was lucky not to be sent off following his strong challenge on the winger as the Bengaluru man zipped past him.
Germanpreet Singh- 7.0
Could have opened his team's account had Jeje's pass been more accurate. Was a regular in the Bengaluru 18-yard box and had the better of Khabra on more than one occasion.
Isaac Vanmalsawma- 5.5
Given the #10 role behind Jeje, he did not have a huge influence on the game as he and his coach would have expected. Was replaced by Anirudh Thapa on the hour mark.
Francis Fernandes- 6.5
Gregory's trusted workhorse as the 30-year-old was industrious and showed no shortage of effort on a humid Bengaluru evening. His tireless running gave Nishu plenty to ponder and opened up spaces for Augusto and Germanpreet to thread more offensive channels.
Jeje Lalpekhlua- 6.5
Blew a golden chance to give his side the lead when he chose to overhit his square pass to Germanpreet, when you could have bet all your money that he would bury Nelson's glorious slide-rule pass. To his credit, he never stopped running and was on hand to pressure the Bengaluru central defence at regular intervals.
Anirudh Thapa - 5.5
Offered more pace than Isaac and gave his side a little more urgency in the final third of the pitch. Was unable to help his side level proceedings for the day.