INDIAN FOOTBALL

Aleksander Jovanovic and Slavko Damjanovic the defensive wall of Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC

Indian Super League side Bengaluru FC has secured the signing of two foreign defenders ahead of the upcoming season. Simon Grayson got his men to secure his three-man defense. This year, Bengaluru FC’s success will be highly dependent on Aleksander Jovanovic and Slavko Damjanovic’s performances.

Player Profile: Aleksander Jovanovic:

The 34-year-old Australian defender started his youth career at APIA Leichhardt. In Australia, Jovanovic played with Parramatta before joining Serbian SuperLiga club Vojvodina in 2008. Later in 2009, Vojvodina loaned out Aleksander Jovanovic to Serbian First League club Novi Sad. Jovanovic played regularly there and made 35 league appearances.

Later, in 2011, Jovanovic left Vojvodina and joined another Serbian top league club, Hajduk Kula, but played only seven matches for them. He joined Thai professional football club Police Tero FC in 2012 and then joined South Korean K-League 2 side Suwon FC in 2013.

The 6.4-foot defender has also played for Jeju United, TJ Teda, Zeljeznicar, and Macarthur FC. Jovanovic joined the Blues on a one-year deal in 2022. In his entire career, Jovanovic played 265 matches in which he scored seven goals.

In his debut season for the Blues, Jovanovic adapted well to BFC’s style of play and became one of Simon Grayson’s go-to players. Last year, Aleksander Jovanovic also won the Durand Cup with BFC. Ahead of the upcoming season, the Aussie defender has decided to extend his contract for one more year.

Player Profile: Slavko Damjanovic:

The 30-year-old Montenegro-born defender is a familiar face in the Hero ISL. Slavko Damjanovic started his professional career with Montenegrin club FK Celik Niksic. Before moving to Serbian sides FK Spartak Subotica and FK Backa 1901, Damjanovic played for several Montenegrin sides like FK Mogren, FK Sutjeska Niksic, and FK Mornar.

Later, in 2015, he moved to Hungarian side Bekescsaba and played 20 matches for them. But in 2016, Damjanovic returned to his former club, FK Sutjeska Niksic. Before moving to the Indian Super League, he played for Bidvest Wits, Buducnost Podgorica, Lokomotiv Tashkent, and FK TSC.

The 6.2-foot defender started his ISL journey with Chennaiyin FC in 2021. Damjanovic played 19 matches for Marina Machans and scored two goals. Later in the 2023 January transfer window, he signed for fellow ISL side ATK Mohun Bagan and scored a goal in the historic Kolkata Derby.

Last year’s ISL winner, Slavko Damjanovic, has now completed his move to Bengaluru FC for the upcoming ISL season. Damjanovic joins Grayson’s side, where he has replaced Brazilian center back Alan Costa.

Aleksander Jovanovic-Slavko Damjanovic: The Best Centre Back Duo for BFC:

Both Aleksander Jovanovic Slavko Damjanovic are going to play big roles for the Blues this year. If Simon Grayson manages to fit both defenders in his preferable 3-5-2 formation, then BFC’s defense will look more solid than the others. To ensure no goals, the three-man defense needs to be formed with a solid core of players, where the Jovanovic-Damjanovic pair fits the most.

Both Jovanovic and Damjanovic are good at positioning and are also communicative to organize their defense. They are physically very strong and excellent in aerial duels due to their height. They have strong tackling and marking skills and also have good anticipation skills.

If the CB duo can perform according to their calibre, then Bengaluru’s defense will look better than the others.

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