On paper, Bengaluru FC was a team which dominated the league stages of the Indian Super League (ISL) and against the seventh-placed team of the I-League, they should have had an easy time. However, the game was far from a cakewalk for the Blues. In fact, they could have been made to suffer for their lacklustre display in the first half.
V.P.Suhair eased past the Bengaluru FC players and made his way into the box where he was clearly pushed by John Johnson; a clear penalty which the referee didn’t award.
Gokulam won the battle in the middle of the park as Victor Perez and Lenny Rodriges could hardly make an impression in the opening 30 minutes or so. Sunil Chhetri did get a couple of gilt-edged chances but he had an off day in front of goal and could not create an opportunity of note.
The manner in which the Kerala outfit were picking spaces in the Bengaluru midfield was commendable. The absence of a certain Dimas Delgado, who is injured, was apparent.
Nowhere did one get the feeling that this was the second most expensive team of the ISL playing against an I-League side which was made on a shoestring budget.
Henry Kisseka was played onside by Subhasish Bose as the entire Bengaluru defence were seen asking for the offside flag to be raised instead of trying to keep track of his run.
However, things changed in the second half as Albert Roca’s half-time talk seemed to have done the trick. The Blues came back strongly with an attacking intent as Bose’s effort came off the woodwork.
Probably, Bino George also got it wrong as his side chose to sit back after the break trying to defend their lead. They failed to register a single shot on goal after the break.
Perez was allowed more time to pick his passes and Toni Dovale was allowed to manoeuvre in the middle third as the JSW-owned outfit upped the ante.
Despite their dominance, they couldn’t break Gokulam’s resistance. It took a brilliant run from Udanta, who outpaced Daniel Addo,to square it for Miku who made no mistake whatsoever. It was in that very move that Addo picked up an injury and that weakened their defence.
Gokulam should have still scored the winner as Kisseka missed a sitter in the 93rd minute. In a quick counterattack, this time it was Miku’s turn to provide the assist for Udanta whose goal broke Gokulam’s hearts.
As has been the case throughout the Super Cup, the I-League teams have given a fair account of themselves and you have got to question the superiority of ISL teams who have had to sweat to break them down.
In fact, this was the first time that an ISL team could beat an I-League side in regulation time.
Super Cup is doing brand ISL no favours.