Bengaluru FC season review: A promising revival that came too late
Bengaluru FC, a team that took the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) by storm when they joined the fray in 2017, by reaching two consecutive finals, have now gone two seasons without appearing in the knockout stages of the competition.
The Blues’ transition, having seen their title-winning team of Hero ISL 2018-19 slowly dismantled, has gone off-track in the last two seasons and there is daylight between them and the cream of the Hero ISL.
However, Bengaluru FC have closed that gap this season with the Blues finishing just five points behind the semi-final places as compared to 12 last season.
Marco Pezzaiuoli has shown that Bengaluru FC can be a force to be reckoned with in the future, but as it stands they aren’t quite there to challenge for top honours.
Pl: 20, W:8, D:5, L:7
The Blues had a fairly decent second half of the season where they won six out of the ten matches but a disastrous first half of the campaign is what spelt the end of their semi-final hopes.
Bengaluru FC won just two out of their first ten matches and left themselves with a mountain to climb to make the top four. The Blues weren’t the worst attack or defence in the league and did a decent job at both ends, but cumulatively, they were just not good enough to make the cut.
The Blues certainly clicked as a unit in the second half of the season and there was an identity about how they played their football. They beat top teams like Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters FC in the second part of the season and showed that they aren’t too far from competing with the elite again.
Bengaluru FC’s revival may have come a bit too late, but it’s a true one and definitely something that the team must build on going into the next season. They have Jamshedpur FC and Hyderabad FC to look at examples for keeping faith in a coach that brought a lot of positives despite not making it to the semi-finals last season.
Goalscoring has been a problem for Bengaluru FC for the last two seasons and even though they improved their goal tally this season, it is an issue that continues to plague them. Cleiton Silva with nine goals was the only BFC player among the top 20 goalscorers in the Hero ISL this season.
Sunil Chhetri’s indifferent form will be a concern for the Blues who could have done with a few more goals this season.
Bruno Ramirez epitomised Pezzauioli’s style of play. Intense and aggressive. He played all 20 matches for the Blues and made 104 tackles, the most by any player in the league. He was the engine of the Bengaluru FC team that caused their opponents plenty of problems. He was also in the top ten for interceptions and passes in the Hero ISL this season, proving his worth in the BFC system.
Best Young Player
A contender for the best young player in the league this season, Roshan Naorem Singh was perhaps the find of this season. The flying full-back was a key element in Pezzaiuoli’s system and his attacking threat and ability to go up and down on the flanks was an asset to Bengaluru FC. He provided seven assists which is the second-best tally this season and the best by an Indian player.
What they need next season?
Bengaluru FC need to keep faith in their German gaffer and further reinforce their squad in order to challenge for the top four and beyond next season. A goalscorer should beon the top of their shopping list along with a good foreign centre-back.
The Blues must also retain their key Indian players like Roshan Naorem, Danish Farooq and build a team around them.