From Sivasakthi's impact to Simon Grayson's tactics: Three things that led to Bengaluru FC’s Durand Cup triumph

Bengaluru FC made the perfect start to the longer football season after being triumphant in the Durand Cup 2022 as they beat Mumbai City FC 2-1 in the final to lift their maiden Durand Cup title and the first silverware of the season.

The Blues wouldn’t ask for a better start to the season than lifting the prestigious and historic title, especially when they’ve undergone an overhaul in the summer with the change in head coach position as Simon Grayson replaced marco Pezzaiuoli. The Englishman has helped set the tone for the rest of the season and have positioned themselves as a serious title contender side in the upcoming Hero ISL 2022-23 season.

As we have a look back at their successful journey in the Durand Cup, here are three key aspects that led to the historic victory.

Compact defence

The Blues have neatly adapted to the methods and tactics employed by the Englishman. Having gone unbeaten in the group stage, Grayson’s men conceded just four goals during that phase. In the knockout stage, the side just conceded two goals across three games, one against Odisha FC and the other in the final against Mumbai City FC.

Their semi-final clash against Hyderabad FC was a testament to the defensive solidity under Grayson as the reigning Hero ISL champions couldn’t penetrate the rock solid defence even after having 74% of the possession, with 16 shots out of which 7 were on target. After the arrival of Aleksandar Jovanovic, Sandesh Jhingan, Hira Mondal, and Prabir Das, Grayson has found the right formula to keep teams out by containing pressure and remaining vigilant off the ball, while also having the likes of Alan Costa and Parag Shrivas at the disposal to help out.

Ample Attacking Firepower

Sivasakthi Narayanan’s exceptional performance in BFC’s Durand Cup campaign was a one of the key reasons behind the Blues’ title triumph, and he will be of utmost importance for Grayson as he can place his faith in the youngster when it comes to crucial matches. The Blues’ top scorer of the campaign with five goals to his name, Sivasakthi burst onto the scene and showed he can also do what others can - score goals. The youngster netted four of those five goals after coming on from the bench, having a strong contention to make it to the playing XI in the upcoming Hero ISL season.

With prolific names in the attack such as Sunil Chhetri, Roy Krishna, Prince Ibarra, and Udanta Singh, Grayson turned this side into a well-oiled attacking machine with the help of attacking full-backs in Roshan Naorem and new signing Prabir Das, who filled in as a replacement for Ashique Kuruniyan. Having scored nine goals in the group stage and five more in the knockouts, the Blues showed their dominance in the attack as well.

Grayson’s style of football

The Englishman has a history of improving the leaky backlines of the teams. Similarly, the Englishman made it a point to strengthen the defensive unit by signing Jovanovic, Jhingan, Mondal, and Prabir Das which has so far has reaped rewards for his side resulting in an experienced backline that has already won him his first silverware of the season.

An attacking style of play with a hybrid formation of 4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3, Grayson blends in well with the philosophy of Bengaluru FC i.e. to play an attractive attacking style of football that will be essential given the Blues’ star-studded attacking lineup.

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