ISL Final, Bengaluru v Goa: Job far from done, says Blues winger Udanta Singh
March 17, 2017. Udanta Singh has his head down, dejected as Bengaluru FC, the table-toppers by a mile, lost to Chennaiyin FC, who had turned up for the ISL Final with a plan.
Exactly a year later, Bengaluru find themselves in yet another Indian Super League (ISL) final but this time their task is tougher than last time around - they have to edge another consistent side in FC Goa to win the ISL trophy.
But there’s a thing about the past. You move on, but you learn. And ahead of his second ISL final in 2 seasons, Bengaluru FC winger Udanta Singh has only one thought - the ISL championship.
Calling the 2017-18 loss to Chennaiyin FC a tough pill to take, Udanta feels the experience will bring the best out of him in the Bengaluru v Goa ISL Final.
“At the start of the season, the target was to make sure that we finish in the top-four and secure qualification for the play-offs, and to be able to do that before any other team was a good feeling,” Udanta told Sportskeeda.
“While we have given ourselves a chance to play for a place in the final, we know that the job is far from done and that the game we play (against Goa) will be tough.”
Unbeaten record doesn’t matter for Bengaluru’s Udanta Singh
Bengaluru shifted to top gear quite early in the season and even had an 11-game unbeaten run, which was abruptly ended by a gritty Mumbai City. Having secured their place in the semifinals soon after, Bengaluru took the foot off the pedal towards the end of the league campaign.
Last time, they had an eight-point lead over second-placed Chennaiyin FC but in the current season, they finished with the same points as FC Goa at 34 points.
Bengaluru have floored Goa in the league stage but the final will be different, Udanta feels.
“An unbeaten run is always good for confidence, but I believe that the slate is clean now. Former records and results don’t matter any more because it’s all down to this game,” Udanta said.
“Our performance in the semifinal showed we can give ourselves a chance to win the Cup, so we have to motivate ourselves to be at our best in this crucial game.”
Udanta Singh, the focal point
Udanta took time to get going in the ISL but once he got his first goal, against Mumbai City in December, he didn’t look back. He added four more to that tally, took up his assists to three and even contributed to the defence.
This, he says, is because of the push from coach Carles Cuadrat, who wanted Udanta to grab some goals when Miku was injured and Sunil Chhetri was going through a slump.
“Even though Miku was absent and Sunil bhai wasn’t scoring, I feel we created enough chances and were unlucky not to find the net in several games," Udanta said.
"Yes, in certain matches I was a focal point, especially when the teams stayed deep to defend. The coach is demanding more from every player and that’s what makes us a very competitive unit.
“It’s always good to score your first of the season, and it does give you confidence, but it was also about building some momentum and making the most of it.”
Will Udanta be the focal point on Sunday?