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Bengaluru FC 1-0 ATK: 5 Talking Points & Tactical Analysis | ISL 2019-20

  • Bengaluru FC posted a narrow victory over ATK and take a one-goal advantage to the Salt Lake Stadium for the second leg.
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 01 Mar 2020, 22:06 IST

Bengaluru FC posted a narrow 1-0 victory
Bengaluru FC posted a narrow 1-0 victory

Bengaluru FC edged past ATK 1-0 at the Kanteerava Stadium in a highly physical encounter. The hosts began the game on the front foot and dominated possession at the outset. However, despite enjoying more of the ball, they weren’t able to create many openings.

The first chance of the match fell to David Williams and the Australian made the net ripple as well in the 17th minute. However, the goal was ruled out as the striker had controlled the ball with his arm. Thereafter, the Blues kept things tidy in midfield and at the back before they surged ahead in the 31st minute.

After a set-piece had been cleared, the hosts hoofed the ball back into the box, where they created a shooting opportunity for Juanan. The Spaniard fired a tame shot at goal, which was somehow spilled by Arindam Bhattacharya. Deshorn Brown did the rest and thumped the ball into the bottom corner.

Come the second half, ATK tried to restore parity and were handed a major boost when Nishu Kumar was sent off in the 83rd minute. However, the defending champions held their nerve to ensure that they ended their home campaign with a victory.

Here is a look at the talking points from the contest.

#5 ATK and Bengaluru FC serve up an intense tactical battle in the first half

A TK and BFC produced an intense tactical battle in the first half
A TK and BFC produced an intense tactical battle in the first half

A week ago, ATK travelled to the Kanteerava as they hoped to notch their first win in Bengaluru and prepare themselves for a potential semi-final encounter. On that evening, Antonio Habas’ men confronted a highly rotated BFC side, meaning that Carles Cuadrat shuffled his pack tactically.

The Spaniard opted for a 3-5-2 system in the league encounter and that ploy worked for large stretches of the game. And, rather unsurprisingly, the hosts pulled off a similar trick when the pair crossed paths in the first leg of their semi-final.

Bengaluru deployed a 3-5-2 formation with Harmanjot Khabra and Nishu Kumar operating as full-backs. Albert Serran, Juanan and Rahul Bheke functioned as the centre-backs whereas Brown and Sunil Chhetri were tasked with providing the firepower in the attacking third.


Consequently, the midfield became extremely congested as both teams scrapped for the ball. In the process, neither team was able to establish a passing rhythm and stitch together constructive offensive moves.

To tackle the above, ATK started utilizing Roy Krishna’s pace, with the striker playing on the shoulder of the last defender. In reply, Bengaluru FC began defending with a much deeper defensive line, thereby ridding the Fijian of the requisite space.

The change in formation also allowed BFC to contain ATK’s marauding full-backs, with Michael Soosairaj and Prabir Das not contributing anything of note in the opening 45 minutes. Additionally, the tactic to utilize Chhetri in a wider role restricted Prabir and enabled the Indian skipper to exploit the former’s susceptibility to aerial balls.

Thus, with both sides engaging in such a rich tactical battle, chances were at a premium. And, it was rather fitting that the only goal of the period was scored in extremely scruffy fashion.  

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Published 01 Mar 2020, 22:06 IST
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