Bengaluru FC have topped the table of the Indian Super League (ISL) for two seasons in a row, after finishing the league phase with 34 points. But this time, their attack has not been as fierce as it was last season.
They have scored 29 goals this season, six short of last season’s tally of 35 goals. Injury to hitman Miku for a prolonged period may be one of the reasons for the same but nevertheless, the Blues did well to cope in his absence. One of the players who stepped up to the plate when required was Udanta Singh.
The youngster continued his good form from last season and displayed great maturity in handling an initial ‘slump’ well. The youngster failed to score a single goal in his first six games this season, not the best of stats for a forward.
Udanta went on to score three goals in the next four games. These were not mere goals, but valuable goals that secured results for the Blues.
Two of the five goals the Tata Football Academy has scored this season came at a time when Bengaluru were either level or in a losing position. His goals have directly fetched the Blues six points and most importantly made up for the lack of Miku.
Team-mate Sunil Chhetri is the only Indian to have scored more goals than Udanta this season. Clearly, the 22-year-old has been a reliable partner-in-crime for the skipper as Bengaluru skipped past testing times in Miku’s absence.
Last season, Udanta managed to score just one goal but bagged seven assists. The lack of goals was a concern when it came to Udanta and he has now responded.
He has significantly improved his prolificacy in front of goal this season but could provide an assist on just two occasions. This shows that the winger has improved his goalscoring nous and has done a good job so far.
Numbers aside, Udanta has shown maturity in making the right decision on the pitch and most importantly, has made his mark in pressure-situations with timely contributions.
"I'm happy with Udanta. He's a very talented player and adds pace to the team. There's nothing to worry about his performances. He's doing his job for the team and he's very important for us in the long season," said Carles Cuadrat at the start of the season. Now the coach has been vindicated.
The new and improved Udanta will be extremely crucial for Bengaluru as they attempt to land their hands on the trophy that evaded them last season.