It truly has been a disheartening start to the ISL for Bengaluru FC. Sitting at 8th in the table, they have just a single win from 4 games.
The Blues did start the season strongly. In their opener, they brushed aside a new-look NorthEast United FC 4-2. Brazilian Cleiton Silva and Jayesh Rane were in the spotlight, scoring and contributing effectively in the game. Despite grabbing the win, they look shaky in defence.
Up next, Bengaluru FC took on Odisha FC, looking to build on a strong start. However, Odisha had other plans. Javi Hernandez was Bengaluru’s tormentor, netting twice and troubling them repeatedly. To add to their woes, star man Sunil Chhetri missed from the spot. Cleiton Silva named on the bench raised a lot of questions, given his prior performance. They did pull one back but that was purely consolation, ending 1-3.
Match 3 witnessed Bengaluru face the Kerala Blasters. The Blues were looking for redemption while Kerala hunted for their first points. But this game could have gone either way. Both teams made mistakes and showed sparks of brilliance. At the end it was Ashique Kuruniyan who netted for either side, a goal and an own-goal for 1-1.
Lastly, Bengaluru FC were set to face champions Mumbai City FC. After a topsy-turvy start, Bengaluru were in search of some stability. Mumbai City, meanwhile, looked to continue their good form. In the initial stages, the Blues did play well with Silva drawing level on going behind. But after that it was all Mumbai. They outplayed Bengaluru to a 1-3 win. Pezzaiuoli’s men crumbled before a resolute Mumbai attack.
They have a host of problems. Defensively, they seem shaky and unsure. It is still early in the season, but they are without a clean sheet. Goalkeeping-wise, several blunders have proved too costly at times. In the game with Odisha, they were especially poor, making error after error which eventually led to a disappointing loss.
All in all, it has been a poor start for the men in Blue. Their main man Sunil Chhetri has seemed far from his usual best. In the past 4 games, he has missed 2 penalties, a rare sight. Chhetri has also been unable to make any noticeable influence in matches.
Then comes the questions raised with regard to team selection. At present, Sunil Chhetri seems to be finding his feet in the season. With 2 penalty misses and no visible impact, the Blues continue to field him over the in-form Cleiton Silva.
It was unfortunate that they could not build on a good start. The win at NorthEast United did give them a boost, but they looked wanting in the games after that. To make it far in the ISL, Bengaluru FC might need to tweak their tactics and playstyle for a better output.
The Blues are set to face Hyderabad FC next, on Dec 8. They must go into the game sharp and organised if they wish to turn their fortunes.
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