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Bengaluru FC 2-0 Jamshedpur FC: 3 Reasons why the defending champions posted a comfortable victory | ISL 2019-20

EXPERT COLUMNIST
Feature
Published Jan 09, 2020
Jan 09, 2020 IST

Bengaluru FC posted a convincing victory
Bengaluru FC posted a convincing victory

Bengaluru FC swatted aside Jamshedpur FC’s challenge at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru as the defending champions ran out 2-0 winners. The hosts turned in an accomplished performance, meaning that they catapulted themselves into 2nd spot on the ISL table.

The Blues began the encounter on the front foot and were rewarded almost instantly when Erik Paartalu towered above everyone else to nod home Dimas Delgado’s corner in the 8th minute.

After the restart, the home side, despite not enjoying the lion’s share of possession, were never really threatened by the visitors as the latter was left feeding off scraps for large swathes of the contest.

In the 63rd minute, a moment of indecision handed Sunil Chhetri the adequate opportunity to clinch the match. A long ball by Paartalu wasn’t dealt with as the Indian skipper then rounded Subrata Pal before slotting the ball into the back of the net.

Here is a look at the three reasons why the defending champions emerged victorious.


#3 Bengaluru assert their set-piece superiority

Bengaluru were a constant menace from set-pieces
Bengaluru were a constant menace from set-pieces

Before the encounter against Jamshedpur FC, the Blues had managed to make the net bulge 13 times in 11 games, with 7 of those goals coming via the set piece avenue. Thus, Bengaluru FC had strengthened their reputation as one of the most potent attacking sides from dead-ball instances. And, they lent further weight to that notion on Thursday.

Throughout the encounter at the Kanteerava, the hosts looked capable of prizing open the visitors’ rear-guard from set pieces. Early in the game, a cleverly worked routine meant that Nishu Kumar found himself in acres of room in the box from a corner off the right flank. Though the Indian couldn’t get the requisite contact, it signalled the Blues’ propensity to rely heavily on such situations.

A few minutes later, Paartalu conjured the end product the home side had been craving when he evaded the attention of Narender Gehlot to power his header past Subrata.

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Even after the goal, the Australian stole a march on his marker from corners several times, meaning that he invariably won the first header and caused the visitors a plethora of problems.

More encouragingly though, Bengaluru weren’t afraid of trying out new movements from set-pieces. On quite a few occasions, the hosts’ attackers either charged towards the front post or gathered around the keeper, thereby posing a different set of questions to Jamshedpur FC for a major chunk of the match.

Thus, over the course of the encounter, the Blues had emphasized that they didn’t intend to forego one of their most potent offensive weapons anytime soon.


#2 Jamshedpur FC produce a woeful performance

Gourav Mukhi embodied a wretched Jamshedpur performance
Gourav Mukhi embodied a wretched Jamshedpur performance

At the start of the campaign, Jamshedpur FC represented a side that seemed capable of breaking into the top four. Defensively, they looked sound whereas Sergio Castel shouldered the goal-scoring burden, meaning that many earmarked them as one of the more complete outfits in the ISL.

However, akin to the past couple of seasons, the eastern outfit has just fallen off a cliff recently, meaning that their performances have nosedived. And, perhaps that downward spiral reached its nadir at the Kanteerava Stadium on Friday.

The visitors began the game timidly and rarely looked like troubling the hosts. To put things into perspective, Jamshedpur, at times, seemed a side that was a tad fearful of imposing its identity on the game, thereby hoping for Bengaluru to commit a mistake to cast itself in the ascendancy.

The away team’s build-up play was massively lethargic as they barely created any clear-cut chances of their own volition. Aitor Monroy and David Grande stung Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s palms but the pair was accorded that opening courtesy sluggish play and defensive errors by the opposition, respectively. 

Defensively, they looked all over the shop against the Blues’ pacey attack as the likes of Ashique Kuruniyan and Udanta Singh just proved too hot to handle.

Most alarmingly though, Jamshedpur lacked the stomach for a fight. At times, in transition situations, the visitors’ players abandoned their defensive duties and were content to watch the game pass them by.

Gourav Mukhi, in particular, was guilty of not putting in the hard yards with a swift counter-attack by Bengaluru at the start of the second half embodying the above.

Thus, at this juncture, Jamshedpur have problems aplenty, especially considering they’ve got most of their top players side-lined. Yet, if they aren’t able to mentally get themselves in the groove, even the presence of Castel and Piti might not propel them in the ISL standings.


#1 Ashique Kuruniyan wreaks havoc

Ashique (L) was a constant thorn in Jamshedpur
Ashique (L) was a constant thorn in Jamshedpur's side

For Jamshedpur’s visit, Carles Cuadrat decided to recall Manuel Onwu with the striker deployed as the focal point of a three-man attack. In the process, Ashique was fielded on the right flank as the winger functioned as an inverted winger. And, the Indian repaid the manager’s faith as he churned out arguably his best performance of the season.

Throughout the game, the forward was a constant thorn in the visitors’ rear-guard. He injected the Blues’ attack with the requisite pace and always kept the Jamshedpur defenders honest.

Additionally, his propensity to play on the shoulder of the last man allowed Bengaluru to utilize his speed when accorded situations to break from midfield. His dribbling also attracted defenders towards him, meaning that some of his teammates were left free to move into better positions and pin back the defenders.

Furthermore, the Indian got through his fair share of defensive work as he tracked back diligently and ensured that 2v1 situations against Rahul Bheke were seldom created. His defensive contribution was personified by a crucial block in the first half when he put in a last-ditch tackle to prevent Farukh Choudhary.

And, he also portrayed his versatility when he operated as the central striker for a quarter of an hour, just before being substituted to rapturous applause.

So far in the 2019-20 season, the Blues have often been criticized for lacking a touch of directness in the attacking third. Yet, if Ashique keeps producing performances of such ilk, that accusation could be silenced rather briskly. 

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