In match number 56 of the 2020/21 Indian Super League season, Bengaluru FC held NorthEast United FC to a 1-1 draw.
NorthEast United came into the game without having won any of their last five games. Bengaluru FC, on the other hand, went into the game on the back of four consecutive defeats.
Both teams were in desperate need of a victory to stay within reach of the top four.
The game was a cagey affair initially. NorthEast United took the lead in the 27th minute through a Machado strike and preserved their lead until the break.
Bengaluru FC equalised early in the second half through Rahul Bheke. The match finished with the scoreboard reading 1-1. On that note, let us take a look at four things we learned from the match.
#4 Bengaluru FC's defence falls like a house of cards
Bengaluru FC had one of the most robust defensive setups in the league. But now, they are like a house of cards waiting to fall.
Against NorthEast, Bengaluru FC's defence was made up of Rahul Bheke, Pratik Chaudhari, Juanan and Parag Srivas. But the four looked like a disjointed unit.
The goal that NorthEast United FC scored was down to a blunder from the Bengaluru FC defence.
Pratik Chaudhari made a mess of regulation clearance from a scuffed shot which helped Machado win the ball and slot it past Gurpreet.
If Bengaluru FC aim to make the playoffs, they need to pull up their socks and get their defence in order.
#3 Gurmeet's blunder proves to be disastrous for NorthEast United FC
NorthEast United FC's young goalkeeper Gurmeet Singh had had a good season before this game. Against Bengaluru FC, however, his mistake cost NorthEast United FC the win.
Rahul Bheke took a hopeful shot from outside the box. The shot didn't have much power in it, and should have been a regulation save for any goalkeeper. But Gurmeet failed to react appropriately and let the ball get past him easily, without making any effort.
The error was comical, to say the least, and it hurt NorthEast United FC very much. People will raise questions about why Gurmeet was selected ahead of Subhasish when the latter was fit to play.
#2 NorthEast United FC miss their foreign strikers
Kwesi Appiah, the Ghanian striker, was already ruled out of the tie due to an injury. Idrissa Sylla, the Guinean forward, who was supposed to lead the Highlanders' strike line, was also missing from the matchday squad.
The reason for Sylla's absence isn't clearly known. The aforementioned duo have scored most of NorthEast United's goals, and it was a tough ask for them to perform without the striking pair.
VP Suhair played as the striker today, and the Indian failed to make full use the chances that came his way. Had NorthEast United had even one of Appiah or Sylla, they could've been in a better position to secure all the three points.
#1 Bengaluru FC's blunt attack a cause of concern
Bengaluru FC, on paper, have one of the most potent attacking lineups in the league. In reality, however, they have been mediocre at best.
Kristian Opseth, the Norweigian striker, has not yet scored a goal in the Indian Super League. Sunil Chhetri is going through a rough patch of late, and Cleiton Silva has managed to score just three goals.
Bengaluru FC are missing a talisman-like Miku who could convert chances with ease. If the Bengaluru FC forwards keep misfiring, then the Blues will have difficulty finishing in the top half of the table.Published 13 Jan 2021, 08:21 IST