Bengaluru FC and Odisha FC played out a goalless draw in their Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 encounter at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday.

The result handed a big jolt to the Juggernauts and their hopes of clinching the League Winners Shield as they now have 36 points from 19 games, five behind what the top-placed Mumbai City FC (41) has accumulated from the same number of matches. On the other hand, Bengaluru FC is back in the top-six courtesy of the outcome of this match.

It was a day where backlines of both the teams were the saving graces, helping them keep a clean sheet each. Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was solid between the posts for the home side, making multiple decisive stops that denied Odisha FC the breakthrough until the end.

Ahmed Jahouh delivered a curling ball that called for Jerry Lalrinzuala inside the box on the left flank of the final third. Gurpreet used his big frame to good effect to ensure that Jerry didn’t have too much space to attempt a testing shot, thus keeping the visitors at bay in the 31st minute.

Fijian forward Roy Krishna had breached past the Bengaluru FC defence to storm into their defensive half with a solo effort in the added time of the first half. His trickery with the ball and fleet-footedness ensured that he got past Gurpreet, but his attempt into an open net was thwarted by a late clearance by Shankar Sampingiraj.

Eleven minutes into the second half, Isak Vanlalruatfela and Amey Ranawade, who have taken giant leaps under the watch of Sergio Lobera at Odisha FC this season, joined hands to create troubles for Bengaluru FC. Isak overcame a challenge by Nikhil Poojary to lay a pass up for Amey on the right flank. Gurpreet was alert to rush ahead of his line and deny the fullback an angle that could have put the ball past him.

It wasn’t as if Bengaluru FC didn’t assert their gameplay moving forward. Their Spanish talisman Javi Hernandez produced two close efforts in the second half that could have really broken the back of the Odisha FC defence if not for the duo of Mourtada Fall and Amrinder Singh.

In the 12th minute of the match, Javi dazzled into the box of the Kalinga Warriors and tried to cheekily slot the ball into the back of the net, only to be saved by a goal-line clearance by Fall.

In the 65th minute, he and Oliver Drost played a nice little one-two passing sequence before Javi hammered the ball past a crowded Odisha FC box.

Amrinder got his palm to the ball before Ranawade lobbed the ball out of the danger area to ensure that the scores remained level at the full-time whistle.

Key Player of the match

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC)

The goalkeeper completed 18 out of his 31 passes, making two clearances, and five saves to cap off an impressive performance guarding the Bengaluru FC defence.

What’s next for both teams?

Bengaluru FC will play next against East Bengal FC on April 7, whereas Odisha FC will be squaring off against Punjab FC earlier on April 2.

Brief Scores

Bengaluru FC 0 – 0 Odisha FC

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