Alberto Roca made 4 changes from the side that won against Abahani FC in the AFC Cup match last Tuesday, with L.Ralte, Juanan, Lenny Rodrigues and Daniel Lalhimpuia making way for Amrinder Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Cameron Watson and Alwyn George. This saw Bengaluru FC start with more of a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Johnson being flanked either side by Jhingan and Salam Ranjan Singh in a 3-man defence, while Harmanjot Khabra and Nishu Kumar operated as wingbacks. Watson and Eugenson Lyngdoh formed the midfield pivot as Sunil Chhetri and Alwyn played off Seiminlen Doungel.
Meanwhile for DSK, Dave Rodgers opted for a couple of changes from the side that shocked East Bengal last week with Lalrinzuala Chhangte replacing Seityasen Singh and Subrata Paul made way for Soram Porei in what looked like a 4-4-2 formation.
BFC were on the attack from the starting whistle with quick counter attacks and slick passing. With Bengaluru on the front foot, their 3-man backline played high up the field and calmly managed to thwart off any minimal danger of a DSK attack. They kept their defensive shape brilliantly throughout and in spite of playing against a set of quick DSK attackers, the trio of Johnson, Jhingan and Salam Ranjan Singh displayed great composure and awareness.
Nishu Kumar was a significant attacking outlet for Bengaluru FC all through the game as he attacked forward often from his left-wingback position and was the farthest man upfront for the Bengaluru side on several occasions. Khabra on the right too contributed with raids down the flank but comparatively had a lesser impact than Nishu.
By the end of the first quarter or so, Lyngdoh and Watson started dominating the midfield well aided by Chhetri and Alwyn as they both kept dropping deep to assist the duo.
DSK Shivajians 1st Half Formation
DSK on the other hand failed to take the upper hand mainly due to their almost non-existent midfield. Both Milan Singh and Juan Quero did little to prevent time and space for the Benglauru midfielders and nor could they create anything significant in terms of attack. The DSK defense never seemed to get enough support from any of their midfielders and the defense and midfield lacked any communication whatsoever for majority of the game.
Pressing was another area where Bengaluru FC outclassed DSK throughout. None of the DSK players looked comfortable on the ball with the Bengaluru players constantly pressing them and putting them under pressure. Sanju Pradhan, who was subbed off as early as in the 31st minute, could barely even keep possession with the likes of Nishu and Jhingan constantly exerting pressure. Meanwhile DSK players looked hesitant to attack the ball and this gave the Bengaluru players way too freedom with the ball. In 5 of the 7 goals conceded, the DSK players were guilty of not closing down the players fast enough.
Bengaluru were also lethal with their counter attacks and on most occasions it was their talismanic duo of Lyngdoh and Chhetri orchestrating them. DSK struggled every time the opposition broke out on a counter and having gone behind early, they opted to push higher up the field which heaped further calamity. Golkeeper Soram Porei’s hesitancy to leave his line on multiple occasions was also a glaring weakness for the Pune side.
DSK Shivajians 2nd Half Formation
Although DSK made some changes post the half-time interval- most notably shifting to a 3 man defense with the introduction of Gouramangi Singh and shifting to a more direct approach using the physical presence of returning striker Kim Song Yeong- none had the desired efforts. The only few positive moves DSK managed to carve out were started by Juan Quero, but his failure in the first half had meant the game had already been lost.
It was a complete performance from the Bengaluru boys; Roca’s side has started to endear the Ball possession style of football he has been cultivating and this game served as yet another evidence of the same, with their one-touch passing a key highlight from the game. Meanwhile DSK’s performance left a lot to be desired; having kept a clean sheet at Eat Bengal last week they gave an embarrassing performance this time and the inconstancy that has plagued them all season was evident yet again.
(Article written by Mishal, Football content Analyst @SportsKPI)