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Indian Super League

Bengaluru FC’s defensive solidarity help them edge out ATK in a colourless game

07:25 GMT+3 02/03/2020
Bengaluru vs ATK
The Blues continued with their pragmatic approach to negate ATK’s powerful attack…

It was a battle between two teams who had conceded the lowest number of goals in the league stage of the Indian Super League (ISL), hence a low-scoring affair in Bengaluru was never a surprise.

But the challenge was tougher for the Bengaluru defence because they were up against the side that had scored the second most number of goals (33) this season.

Juanan and co. had an uphill task containing the likes of Roy Krishna, David Williams and Edu Garcia but the Bengaluru backline did a tremendous job in bottling one of the most lethal attacks in the league.

The Blues have been pragmatic throughout the ISL this season and it was expected that Carles Cuadrat would deploy the same tactics against Antonio Habas’ team.

He had put Suresh Wangjam and Erik Paartalu in the defensive midfield who stood firm in front of the defence line. Dimas Delgado was given a free role in the midfield but he too was seen tracking back several times to help his defence.

The double covering in the midfield did not allow Edu Garcia to operate freely in the number 10 position and so the supply line got cut. Also, Bengaluru always had at least two players covering Roy Krishna.

A major problem ATK had on the night was their wing-backs failing. Since the beginning of the season, the wing-backs Prabir Das and Michael Soosairaj have been a key part of Habas’ system. Unfortunately, neither of them had any impact on the match.

Defensively too Prabir, was extremely poor and in fact, it was due to his mistake that Sunil Chhetri was able to win a header that led to the goal. If Prabir had not tracked back unnecessarily to intercept Gurpreet’s long ball the Bengaluru skipper would have been caught offside!

Arindam Bhattacharya too had a dreadful outing under the bar for the Kolkata club. This is the second consecutive match in which ATK conceded a goal due to Arindam’s blunder.

In his last appearance against Chennaiyin FC in Kolkata, Arindam had failed to judge the flight of Rafael Crivellaro’s corner and Andre Schembri headed the ball into an empty net.

Once again, the Bengali custodian had failed to grip a simple shot from Juanan from which Deshorn Brown scored the winning goal. Bhattacharya had also fumbled in the 24th minute of the match when his butterfingers had almost cost his team another goal.

ATK saw the ball throughout the game but were unable to force any clear opening, thanks to solid defending from the Blues. It can also be said that Bengaluru played to their strengths and reduced the chances of an open game, which would have allowed the likes of Krishna and Williams to wreak havoc. Instead, they tightened things up and did what they needed to do at their home and now will carry a one-goal advantage to Kolkata next Sunday.