Rectifying the past: Bengaluru FC's shot at redemption
Written by: Srinivasan
The Blues missed out on the title last season but have a opportunity to make ameds this time around.
When Miku expertly finished a fine cross from Udanta Singh at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in the second leg of the ISL semi-final against NorthEast United, one could almost feel the stadium breathe a collective sigh of relief. A host of missed chances in the first half, raised questions on whether Bengaluru would freeze just when it mattered.
However, this is a team that has grown together over the last two seasons and while one could argue that Carles Cuadrat has more or less played by the Albert Roca playbook, he has added his own touch to a formidable Blues side.
While Roca's tactics were sometimes predictable, Cuadrat has added his own version of favourable unpredictability to this team.
Since taking over, Carles Cuadrat has been nothing short of brilliant for the Blues this season in the league
In addition to being dangerous at set-pieces, the Spaniard has shown immense tactical nous to handle tricky situations like in the case of the semi-final leg at home, when he asked his wide men Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh to play centrally and then drift out wide. In addition, he made a bold choice by removing experienced defender Juanan and shifted to a back three to force the issue in the same game.
It is his ability to make game-changing tweaks like these that can be the difference this year for the Garden City club.
The final represents a chance for the Blues to rectify a wrong that was handed to them in front of their home supporters in their debut season of the ISL. In what was expected to be a final in favour of the home side, Bengaluru were surprisingly caught flat-footed against a supremely organised Chennayin FC. This despite the Blues finishing the league stage on 40 points, a good eight ahead of the eventual winners.
This time however, Bengaluru face FC Goa, a team that is equally committed to playing football the way it is meant to be played - intelligent movement, short, quick passing and wanting to get the crowd on their feet. Unlike Chennayin, who were extremely strong defensively and were dangerous on the counter, Goa coach Sergio Lobera's intent to attack from the word go is something that Cuadrat would ideally look to use to his side's advantage.
They find themselves in a very similar scenario. They finished ahead of Goa in the league table, but the knockout stages are an entirely different ballgame. The Gaurs arrive at the final as top scorers of the ISL 2018-19, keeping the most number of clean-sheets and also having made the most number of passes so far.
In what is surely going to be a visual treat for the neutrals and respective fan clubs alike, it is a chance for Bengaluru, one of India's model football clubs, to step up to the plate and bring home a title they have always been expected to win since they made their bow last year.
Published: Fri Mar 15, 2019 02:54 PM IST