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ISL Final, Bengaluru v Goa - Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, warding off goals between 'posts'

EXPERT COLUMNIST
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788   //    14 Mar 2019, 13:00 IST

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (left) of Bengaluru FC, always sporting a flashy jersey, with captain Sunil Chhetri
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (left) of Bengaluru FC, always sporting a flashy jersey, with captain Sunil Chhetri

He's the most colourful man on the pitch and that's because his jersey is either flashy green or glowy pink. But there's no denying that Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is a vibrant personality off the field too, as evident from his social media posts.

As much as Gurpreet, towering at 6'6'', stretches and saves goals for Bengaluru in the Indian Super League (ISL), he also entertains his followers with his quirky Instagram hashtags.

If #LeagueHotiTohKyaHota ('Why isn't it a league'), a dig at the Indian Super League's playoff stage, invited some criticism, a recent one going by #HiCakeThisIsMe earned him some followers and birthday wishes.

Like how they say don't mix business with pleasure, Gurpreet is usually the first to turn the game focus on when he takes the pitch. But you must surely wonder how he does it?

"I think very different off the pitch," Gurpreet tells Sportskeeda. "I am goofy, witty and really fun to be with. 
"On the pitch, I try to be the one you don't want to mess with."

It's probably this trait in his character that has seen him earn the No 1 armband for the Indian national football team.

And time and again, he has established himself as a top goalkeeper whether it's guarding against the barrage of shots from Bahrain in the Asian Cup or the penalty save against Jordan in a friendly.

"For the club, I would say the save against Goa at home (Ahmed Jahouh’s shot on Feb 21) and the save against Northeast in the 93rd minute at home during the ISL league stage match on Jan 30 would be the top picks," Gurpreet says.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is the Golden Glove leader in the ISL
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is the Golden Glove leader in the ISL

Yet, when there are concerns over his abilities, especially after a forgettable performance against Delhi Dynamos, Gurpreet has remained humble, apologising to fans for his errors, and looking to improve with every passing game.

"Over the years, I have learnt how to keep calm during games, worked on my positioning and mostly importantly, the approach to shots coming at the goal," Gurpreet says.

This Sunday, in particular, is the one day Gurpreet hopes to be at his menacing best during the Bengaluru v Goa ISL final at the Mumbai Football Arena. The 2017-18 ISL final ended in disappointment at the hands of Chennaiyin FC and there was a sense of the undeserving grabbing the title for Bengaluru.

Against Goa, however, it will be a match of two consistent teams and Gurpreet knows he has a tough job ahead.

"It's great being back in the final again and we, as a team, just want to continue the way we have played - with the same belief and patience. If all goes well, we’ll have a good chance of winning it," Gurpreet says.
"The team with more patience and the team that makes less mistakes will have a better chance and I hope that's us," Gurpreet adds.
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EXPERT COLUMNIST
Aravind Suchindran is a sports reporter from Bangalore, who has previously worked with the Times Of India and Bangalore Mirror. When not writing, he likes to read between the lines. When bored of reading between the lines, he likes to play football and explore the world.
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