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ISL 2019/20: NorthEast United FC provide early caution for wasteful Bengaluru FC frontline

1:32 AM EDT 10/22/19
Bengaluru vs NorthEast United
The defending champions were left to rue the missed chances against the Highlanders ...

Bengaluru FC began their Indian Super League (ISL) title defence with a goal-less draw against NorthEast United FC at home. The downpour set the stage for an intense game but both teams had to settle for a point at the end of a contest which mellowed down with time.

Although Robert Jarni’s men put on a solid show to earn the point, Carles Cuadrat will consider it as two points lost after his attackers failed to bury the plethora of chances created by the midfield.

New-signing Raphael Augusto was the pick of the midfielders, having created several chances and two big goal-scoring opportunities. The former Chennaiyin FC midfielder created two clear-cut chances in the first half, releasing Manuel Onwu and Udanta Singh into space. But poor touches from both players did not do justice to the quality of the through-balls.

Ashique Kuruniyan too provided moments of brilliance, but the lack of coherence upon entering the final third prevented the hosts from scoring their first goal of the season.

Carles Cuadrat harnessed the versatility of Ashique and Augusto very well. The former displayed promise in the full-back position and allowed Sunil Chhetri the luxury of reduced work-rate courtesy of his relentless running. Augusto was at the heart of every dangerous move that came NorthEast’s way. He did great in his free role in midfield and is likely to play a crucial part in Bengaluru’s season.

Despite the positives, Bengaluru will be left to rue the missed chances. Onwu was a mere spectator for most parts of the game and was comfortably dominated by Mislav Komorski and Kai Heerings. Sunil Chhetri also could not contribute anything significant to the attack.

Everything went according to plan for NorthEast boss Jarni. His side defended as a unit, isolated Onwu and frustrated the hosts. The idea to attack Bengaluru’s high line on the counter also created several dangerous moments. Asamoah Gyan struck the crossbar in the second half and could have decided the game.

Martin Chaves was also brilliant in attack for NorthEast and the Uruguayan will be key for the Highlanders going forward in the season. NorthEast came with a game plan to Bengaluru and executed it well.

There’s not much the visitors could have done more and will hence gladly take a point back home. Whereas, Bengaluru will be left to ponder about the woes upfront ahead of more stringent tests.