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Bengaluru FC’s strengths, weaknesses ahead of ISL final vs. Chennaiyin FC

Ahead of the Indian Super League (ISL) final between Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC, here’s a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two-time Federation Cup and I-League champions.

football Updated: Mar 16, 2018 16:51 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bengaluru FC,Chennaiyin FC,Indian Super League
Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chettri celebrates with teammates after winning the Indian Super League (ISL) second leg semi-final against FC Pune City at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore on March 11, 2018. (PTI)

The Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 has been a season to cherish for Bengaluru FC. When they decided to make the jump from the I-League to the Indian Super League, both experts and fans were worried about how quickly Albert Roca’s will be able to adapt to their new surroundings.

However, Bengaluru FC have been one of the most consistent sides in the tournament this season and will look to clinch the title in their debut season as they take on Chennaiyin FC in the final on Saturday.

Ahead of the summit clash, here’s a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two-time Federation Cup champions.

STRENGTHS

Impressive attacking options - Bengaluru FC boast of one of the most impressive attacking line-ups in the league and it has worked wonders for the ISL debutants. The partnership of Indian football team skipper Sunil Chhetri (13 goals) and Venezuelan striker Miku (14 goals) has been a serious threat for their opponents and the striking duo will once again be crucial to their team’s plans on Saturday.

An organised midfield - Dimas Delgado, Erik Paartalu and Lenny Rodrigues have marshalled the Bengaluru FC midfield quite well this season and with Udanta Singh and Boithang Haokip playing on the flanks, the midfield has been a strong point for them. Albert Roca believes in fluid movement on the pitch and these players are more than capable of implementing his game plan.

Home support - The Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore is not an easy place for visiting sides considering the huge support Bengaluru FC enjoys as well as their enviable home record. This season, they have lost just two matches at home and with the organisers expecting a full house on Saturday, the two-time I-League title winners will start the final with a slight advantage over Chennaiyin FC.

WEAKNESSES

Over-dependence on wingers - Udanta Singh and Boithang Haokip are both pacy wingers and the Bengaluru FC strikers often rely on them to provide the final ball into the box. As a result, a majority of the game is played on the flanks and if Chennaiyin FC can stop these two youngsters from launching the ball into the final third, they can at least partially neutralize the home side’s attacking threat.

Absence of Subhasish Bose - The 22-year old defender has been an integral part of the Bengaluru FC back-line but he will not take part in the final after picking up two yellow cards – one in each leg - against FC Pune City in both legs of the semi-final. Either Nishu Singh or Harmanjot Khabra will take his place in the starting XI on Saturday, but both of them lack the aerial presence that Subhasish provides against the strikers.

Full backs failing to track back - Rahul Bheke and Nishu Singh both have a habit of regularly making attacking runs down the flanks and as a result are constantly involved in a number of attacking moves. But on many occasions they are slow in tracking back and that provides the opposition with a chance to launch a speedy counter-attack - a problem that Bengaluru FC need to rectify ahead of the final on Saturday.

First Published: Mar 16, 2018 14:55 IST