Bengaluru have 10 cleansheets and have conceded only 13 goals this season…

Two years ago, Bengaluru FC led by head coach Albert Roca had an exemplary season and reached the final of the 2017-18 Indian Super League (ISL).

Roca’s Blues were intimidating when going forward and always looked like scoring at any point in a game. Two seasons later, the look and feel of Bengaluru FC are different.

Focusing on their displays in the league stage of the 2019-20 season, the highlight has been their woes in front of the goal after letting Miku leave at the end of last season. This season, Bengaluru have lacked firepower upfront due to a blunt strikeforce.

Only bottom-placed sides Hyderabad FC (21 goals) and NorthEast United (14 goals) have attacks worse than the defending champions (22 goals in 18 matches) this season and that is, simply put, a terrible scoring return for a top team. 

Juanan Odisha FC Bengaluru FC ISL 2019-20

Despite all their struggle in the final third, the team still managed to qualify for the playoffs with a game to spare. Now that is an incredible feat made possible due to brilliant backline that has simply stood firm and resolute throughout the campaign. This is where the old saying – attack wins you games, defence wins you titles – could very soon come true. 

As Bengaluru continued to cough up just above a goal per game, there was a tight-knit unit working hard at the other end of the field. The defence, consisting of centre-backs Juanan, Albert Serran, full-backs Nishu Kumar and Rahul Bheke have all contributed heavily to Bengaluru’s season so far.

They are the league’s best defence, having only let in 13 goals so far. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has also played his part and the team’s 10 clean sheets is an ISL record. More importantly, Erik Paartalu has also been a rock in midfield, helping break up opposition attacks and making his presence felt at both ends of the pitch.

Despite reaching the playoffs, this Bengaluru team has massively underperformed and has not fulfilled their potential. But the defence has led the charge from the back and they will remain a tough nut to crack in the upcoming playoff fixtures. Against fellow playoff teams FC Goa, ATK and Chennaiyin, the Blues have only conceded a grand total of five goals. Can the defence help Bengaluru retain their ISL title?

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