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Indian Player Ratings: Rahul Bheke the superstar as Bengaluru win maiden ISL title

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar

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The Gaurs put up a valiant fight but could not come up with a reply to the full-back's winner late in extra-time.

Bengaluru FC pushed aside last season’s nightmare and nudged FC Goa to a 1-0 victory at the Mumbai Football Arena to seal their first-ever Indian Super League (ISL) title. In a cagey game in which two sides cancelled out each other, Rahul Bheke rose highest to score the winner in the 117th minute to help top off his fairytale, in the city where it all started out for him.

Many impressive performances were seen from the domestic players, with some shining brighter than the others. Here are our Indian player ratings for the ISL final.

Watch: Bengaluru FC 1-0 FC Goa highlights

Bengaluru FC

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu- 6.5

The towering goalkeeper was vastly untested in the first half, but had to be agile when Goa came out firing in the second. He made two smart saves and five catches, but almost scuffed an easy collection leading to tensed scenes. Got the job done this time.

Harmanjot Singh Khabra- 6.5

Harmanjot Khabra did a decent job in keeping Brandon Fernandes contained, but couldn’t stop his crosses from the left. Maintained his composure and stuck to his position really well. Made three clearances, two tackles and two interceptions to help avert problems and maintained peak discipline and concentration.  

Rahul Bheke- 9.0

Watch: Rahul Bheke scored the only goal of the game against FC Goa

Trusted by Carles Cuadrat to keep Ferran Corominas quiet, Bheke did just that with a compelling performance. He held a strong figure in defence, making two blocks and seven clearances to fend away pressure.

Operated intelligently to stop Goa’s flow through the middle and worked well with Juanan to frustrate Corominas and Co. However, the Mumbaiker’s crowning moment came in the 117th minute, when he scored a brilliant header which floated over Naveen Kumar to win Bengaluru their first ISL title.

Nishu Kumar- 7.5

Apart from one mistake, when he allowed Jackichand Singh to get behind him, Nishu Kumar was a commanding figure in defence and attack. He was agile going forward and alert defensively, not allowing the winger to put dangerous crosses into the box.

Nishu made four clearances and seven interceptions to regain possession and linked-up superbly with Sunil Chhetri to trouble Goa through the left with his energetic demeanour. Substituted in extra-time for a fresher pair of legs in Boithang.

Udanta Singh- 7.0

Udanta Singh moved forward with urgency, always looking to break through on goal and create chances for his side. Made some promising runs forward and created a great chance in the first half, when his shot almost allowed Miku to make the breakthrough.

Got the better of Savior Gama in the second half and created another great chance for Miku in the dying moments. Subbed after working his socks off to no avail.

Sunil Chhetri- 6.5

Captain Fantastic was Bengaluru’s leader in attack. He looked pumped up for the big occasion and caused a lot of problems through the left. Chhetri outran and outworked the younger Seriton Fernandes and linked-up really well with Miku and Co.

Created a brilliant chance, when his fantastic cross met Miku’s header which went wide. Mellowed down towards the end, but kept pegging his side forward resulting in the late goal.

Substitutions

Boithang Haokip- 6.0

Earned the corner which led to the winner.

Kean Lewis- NA

Didn’t do much in the later moments.


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FC Goa

Naveen Kumar- 6.5

Naveen showed courage in dealing with Miku, making a brave save when he closed down the Spaniard, not allowing him to score in the first half. Made another fantastic save off Luisma Lopez in extra-time, but was unfortunate not save Bheke’s looping header in the dying moments despite getting a finger to it.

Seriton Fernandes- 6.0

The consistent right-back was given a bunch of problems by Chhetri and struggled to keep him out every time. That being said, he didn’t allow anything lethal to come through his side. Seriton improved from the second half and beyond, hassling the Bengaluru captain and making four tackles to win back possession.  

Mandar Rao Dessai- 6.0

The FC Goa captain had a night to forget on the biggest occasion possible. While he worked hard to keep Udanta quiet, he ended up overworking his body and pulled his hamstring before half-time, forcing him to be substituted.

Lenny Rodrigues- 6.5

Lenny Rodrigues kept up his flow in flinging balls all over the field for Goa, being the more composed of the midfield two. He distributed possession really well, maintaining an 86% passing accuracy from 70+ passes and closing down Bengaluru’s midfielders convincingly. Made six clearances and three tackles to help his defence, but could’ve helped mark Bheke to stop the goal.  

Jackichand Singh- 7.0

Jackichand continued to be a huge issue for Bengaluru, moving forward with purpose on the right flank. While he was marked tightly by Nishu, he ended up bamboozling past the youngster on multiple occasions. Put in some inviting crosses to create chances and got into some promising positions with his pace, but couldn’t break the deadlock.  Substituted in extra-time after losing steam.

Brandon Fernandes- 6.5

Brandon couldn’t dribble through the left, but was much more effective with his crosses. He produced some impressive ones to open things up and was unlucky not to get an assist from either.

He was also the reason for Goa’s best first half chance, when his shot blazed just wide of Bengaluru’s goal. Did his defensive duties to keep Udanta quiet, making two tackles and as many clearances to help his defenders, but couldn’t conjure up the special for his side.

Substitutions

Saviour Gama- 6.5

The youngster only made his second ISL appearance, but thrived under the pressure. He surged forward with intent to trouble Bengaluru and did a solid job defensively, albeit with a silly mistake or two. He made three tackles and thee clearances, maintaining composure to keep Udanta quiet and not allowing trouble to sneak in.  

Manvir Singh- 5.5

Couldn’t do anything after coming on for Jackichand.

Published: Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:54 AM IST

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