ISL 2017: Bengaluru FC set the early pace in title race

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The JSW-owned outfit highlighted once again why they are among the favourites to clinch this season’s ISL…

Bengaluru FC's home game against Delhi Dynamos was supposed to be a contest. However, what was dished out at the Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday was a one-sided affair. The gulf in quality was apparent, the gulf in preparations was there to see, the gulf in personnel was evident.

Delhi Dynamos were the first Indian Super League (ISL) to kick-start their preparations after Bengaluru FC who were busy with their AFC Cup matches. It would be fair to state that Delhi were the second most prepared team in the ISL this season having had a pre-season of over two months in Spain, Qatar and Delhi.

While Miguel Angel Portugal’s side went down 4-1 on the night, what would concern the former Real Madrid ‘B’ team coach is the fact that this team couldn’t put up a fight. They looked at sixes-and-sevens and had no plan B whatsoever.

Albert Roca had instructed his team to pressurize Dynamos’ rearguard in the opening 30 minutes or so which resulted in them not being able to threat together passes. However, in a defiant mode, Delhi were seen attempting to play-and-move brand of football when they just couldn’t handle the pressure exerted.

Sena Ralte, who is one of the best in a wing-back role, was deployed as a left-back and against the ace of Udanta Singh, he had one of his worst games. Delhi’s midfield was overpowered all throughout as Bengaluru attackers applied pressure on their defenders and won the ball high up the pitch.

While they didn’t concede goals from open play in the first half, letting in two from set-pieces highlighted the atrocious marking inside the box. To allow Harmanjot Khabra a free header and for the second goal, allow at least three Bengaluru players to be unmarked is a mistake Portugal wouldn’t have wanted to see after two months of preparation.

Bengaluru FC Delhi Dynamos FC ISL season 4 2017/2018

The Lions certainly have the talent and speed at their disposal but they fell prey to Bengaluru’s tactics and played into their hands.

Albert Roca’s team were superior on many fronts and deserved to pick yet another three points. There were several positives for the former I-League champions such as Miku getting off the mark in a game where he could have had at least three to his name, Udanta running riot down the right and Khabra putting in a tremendous shift as a full-back.

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However, the star player for Bengaluru was Edu Garcia. He pulled the strings from the middle and his creativity was evident as he would cut through the Dynamos’ defence at will. He could have had a goal to his name as but for Albino Gomes’ brilliance in between the sticks.

Based on the performance in the first two rounds of ISL, Bengaluru FC are certainly at a level above most of the teams. Whether that is because the players have been together for a longer period of time or because is it because of the brilliant recruitment over the summer, probably it’s a combination of both.

The Blues are certainly started the ISL on a positive note and their brand of football has got everyone to sit up and take notice.

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