To replace a top goalscorer like Miku was always going to be difficult. It’s usually never an easy task to find a like-for-like replacement. On top of that, Bengaluru FC have opted to sign six foreign players this season instead of completing the quota of seven.
One may point that Bengaluru played without Miku for much of last season but if one analyses their matches, it is easy to see that they scraped through many games as opposed to their usual dominant and expansive style of play.
Credit goes to coach Carles Cuadrat in the manner in which he has further tightened their defence. Juanan, who is often underrated, and Albert Serran, who is usually criticized for his lack of pace, are arguably the best centre-back pairing in the Indian Super League (ISL) with just two goals conceded in over 550 minutes.
The presence of Erik Paartalu and Dimas Delgado in midfield helps to intercept opposition’s attack. Particularly, the Australian’s burly presence inside the box during set-piece situations is a massive plus for Bengaluru as he usually wins almost every aerial duel.
As far as Bengaluru’s attack is concerned, Manuel Onwu hasn’t had a run of games due to injury concerns and hence, it would be too early to pass judgment on him.
Raphael Augusto, for all his creativity and precision in passing, isn’t a goalscorer. The onus then is on Sunil Chhetri, who has three to his name, Udanta Singh who has scored once and Ashique Kuruniyan – who has been deployed as a wing-back and a winger.
Against Hyderabad, Cuadrat’s team dominated the game from the start but it was thanks to some wasteful finishing from their attackers that they paid the price in the end. Yes, there were questionable decisions from the referee, which has become the norm more than an exception but they have only themselves to blame.
Marko Stankovic’s pass for Ashish Rai saw the former Indian Arrows product shoot at Gurpreet Sandhu. The clearance was picked by Robin Singh who did well to place it into the back of the net, which was a redemption of sorts after the miss against Chennaiyin FC where he had the entire goal at his mercy.
Cuadrat would be frustrated to see that his team literally dropped two points at the death against Hyderabad, who looked all at sea.
However, despite the minor blip, expect Bengaluru’s defenders to shine this season and soak in the plaudits more than the frontline, which has been far from its best.