Bengaluru FC Dominate ISL, BFC Reserves Top Local Division with Game to Spare
Even while Bengaluru FC are enjoying an unbeaten run in the Indian Super League (ISL), their reserve team has scripted a fairytale of its own by clinching the local division title with a game to spare.
Bengaluru FC 'B' defeated ASC & Centre 1-0 on Thursday to assure themselves of the title. With 31 points in 12 games, they are 10 clear of second-placed Ozone FC Bengaluru, who have three more matches to play.
Captain Myron Mendes, who is registered as part of Bengaluru FC's ISL squad as well, converted a penalty in the 88th minute to finish the job for the Blues.
Since its inception in 2013, this is the first time that the club managed to top the local division. Earlier this season, Bengaluru FC 'B' had won the Puttaiah Memorial Cup as well, the Federation Cup equivalent of Karnataka. Even in that final, it was Myron who came up with the winner.
"We never thought of winning the league by taking it to the last game," an elated Myron said. "We wanted to finish in this match only and we did that. The boys did really well."
BFC 'B' coach Naushad Moosa, who also assists head coach Carles Cuadrat in the ISL games, felt the team kept the promise it had made to the management at the start of the season.
"When we started the league after the Puttaiah Memorial Cup, the boys promised the management that they will deliver this league title. The club had not won it in five years and it doesn't look good if a big club like Bengaluru FC cannot win the local division."
"But they were confident of getting it done and promised that. At the beginning of the league, it was tough for them. But as we went on, they started enjoying the game and they played the way we want them to play."
"If you see the way the boys were playing, they deserved to win this."
It was not at all a smooth ride for BFC, who suffered a setback when they were defeated by MEG & Centre in November.
Last season, Ozone had won the league by clinching 11 out of 11 wins and even one draw could harm BFC's hopes. BFC further had to share the spoils with FC Bangalore United 10 days ago after a 1-1 draw.
But they had their share of luck because even Ozone dropped points and even lost recently to Bangalore Eagles. That allowed BFC to build an unassailable lead and they finished the job in style on Thursday.
"The loss to MEG was a big upset," Myron said. "We dominated the whole game but couldn't win it.
"The boys were down. When we played Student's Union in the next game, we were angry after that defeat and showed it on the pitch. We won 9-0. "You could also say the Bangalore United draw was an upset. We dominated throughout but could not find the net. But we came stronger and won the league. That's what matters."
Given their impressive performance, coach Moosa feels some of them may be called up to the senior team for the second phase of the ISL, which will kick off from the third week of January.
"The coach comes for every game," Moosa said. "Whichever game he misses, he will watch the video and follow what happened.
"Right now, they are on a break but when he comes back, he will watch the video of this match and get updated. He has his own feedback and keeps telling me how to improve the boys. "Whenever BFC train, you will see at least five of my players will be training with the senior squad. That way, it motivates others to do well."
The Bengaluru FC reserves will next feature in the Second Division League, which may kick off next month.
Being an ISL club, Bengaluru FC 'B' cannot make the final round of the Second Division League even if they top the zonals. But Moosa says the winning attitude from the seniors has crept into the Colts as well.
"I was thinking it would be difficult to motivate them.
But what happened is that they always want to stay on top. That's the culture in BFC. They really work hard and want to stay on top.
"As a player, nobody wants to lose so they always give their best. In the Second Division League, we have Lonestar Kashmir, ARA FC, FC Goa 'B' and Hindustan FC in our group. I don't think it should be a problem."