Bengaluru FC Reserves team promised so much before coming to play the prestigious Durand Cup. However, in their opening match, they failed to get past the easiest opponent of group Army Red and drew 1-1 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Monday.
Their senior team may have won the Indian Super League title last season, but the junior team’s performance showed there is much more work to do. Bengaluru were trailing by a goal at half-time before restoring parity in the second half through a penalty. Suresh Singh Wangjam scored for Bengaluru and also earned the Man of the Match award.
Let us discuss the reasons why Bengaluru drew with Army Red:
#3 Bengaluru had no plan B
Bengaluru started in usual manner, keeping possession and looking for counter-attack opportunities. They made some quick runs into their opponent box but that didn’t yield results. However, the Army men looked as resilient as they did in their last match against East Bengal, keeping the shape of the defence tight.
At this moment, Bengaluru should’ve had their next plan ready. They should’ve used the wings more to deliver useful crosses in the box. Instead, they tried to play too many passes in the midfield and repeatedly lost the ball to their counterparts.
Even in that situation, Bengaluru almost unlocked the Army rearguard. But their poor finishing ability meant there was no change to the scoreline. As time went on, Army looked more solid and they did their defensive duties right, only to lose focus in the second half, which allowed Bengaluru to restore parity and save face.
#2 Naushad Moosa needs to work with his defence
Throughout the match, Mukesh Kumar turned out to be a menace the Bengaluru rearguard. His fine speed on the wings, excellent ball control and powerful shots kept the entire Bengaluru defence on its toes.
For a major part in the first half, Bikas Thapa combined well with Mukesh but an untimely injury cut short his playing time.
Even the substitute Herojit Singh proved to be a danger to Bengaluru. He could’ve scored with his first touch had the ball not sailed over the bar by a few millimetres.
Just before the end of the second half, the entire Bengaluru defence stood still as Sushil’s pass easily found Liton Shil, who scored with an outstretched leg. The two defenders who were present in the box had no idea that Liton was standing behind them.
Naushad Moosa was a well-known defender in his playing days and now he will have to sit with the defenders before facing tougher teams like East Bengal and Jamshedpur FC.
#1 Youngsters failed to shine
This Bengaluru reserve side have at least five players who are jostling for a space in the senior team. The likes of Edmund Lalrindika, Naorem Roshan Singh, Suresh Wangjam, Leon Augustine have the ability to make their presence felt in bigger competitions.
But against what, on paper, is an easier opponent, they failed to perform. They had enough technical ability, physique and game sense to prevail over their opponent. But apart from Suresh, no one came to their side's rescue.
There is much hope pinned on Lalrindika, who has already played in the Indian Super League. In the 22nd minute, he got a fine pass from the right flank and had enough time to control the ball before unleashing a shot. But the youngster failed to connect the ball properly and a good move was wasted. He failed to shine for the rest of game. The same happened with captain Roshan Singh, who failed to do justice with his talent.
Leon made some good attacking forays moves but he was a lone warrior and didn’t get support throughout the match. Suresh, apart from scoring the goal, also made some quick moves but failed to get all the points for his team.