Both teams were guilty of wasteful attack, perhaps NorthEast United more than Bengaluru…
Neither Bengaluru FC nor NorthEast United FC would have been the happiest team after a 0-0 draw which saw Highlanders coach Gerard Nus part ways with the club.
Both teams were struggling to get into this game with Bengaluru looking for some sort of mini-renaissance under interim coach Naushad Moosa. After four losses on the rebound, a run that saw Carles Cuadrat leave the club, Moosa was desperate for three points against NorthEast United. But it didn’t have to be.
The Bengaluru attack continued to struggle and the little they created was wasted by the attackers. NorthEast, on the other hand, was more debauched than Bengaluru and, in the balance of the game, should have won the game.
When NorthEast United got off to a good start this season, many called them the surprise package and one of the “dark horses”. They started their campaign with a surprise 1-0 victory over Mumbai City FC, a team which currently occupy pole position in the Indian Super League (ISL) table.
They made a brilliant comeback against the Kerala Blasters where they were 2-0 before scoring twice in the second half to score a point. They followed with another point against FC Goa after having equalized on a kick from Idrssa Sylla.
In their fourth game of the season, they passed East Bengal to record a comfortable 2-0 victory. Eight points from four games and the Highlanders looked like they were keen to make the top four by the end of the league stage.
However, what followed was nothing short of a disaster. In seven matches, they have amassed only four points. A similar trend was seen last season when they got 10 points in the first five games and would pick just eight more from the remaining 13 games.
“There are more players now who weren’t here last year. I see the opportunity to use these statistics (from last year) to prove to us that we can do better, ”Nus said ahead of their sixth game of the campaign as he was asked about the collapse of NorthEast United last season.
Kwesi Appiah’s injury did not help Nus’ cause, which further narrowed down goal options for the Highlanders.
Bengaluru FC have struggled throughout the season and it wasn’t much different against NorthEast. They would thank their stars for picking a point thanks to a gift from goalkeeper Gurmeet Singh, who failed to collect a weak shot, or a cross, from Rahul Bheke.
What would continue to haunt Naushad Moosa and his players is the ease with which the opposition is able to create openings. Without VPSuhair’s wasting time and time again, Bengaluru might have found himself staring at another loss.
The goals do not come and the creativity of the set pieces, with Carles Cuadrat, seems to have abandoned them. They find it difficult to get behind the opposition defense and when they do, there aren’t enough bodies in the box.
Not much has changed for Bengaluru since Cuadrat left in terms of shaping open play odds and Moosa needs to fix that as soon as possible.
NorthEast has chosen to get rid of Nus and hand over the reins to Khalid Jamil. Whether this is the right decision or not, only time will tell. However, it is now up to Jamil to ensure that the team do much better in the second half of the campaign, keeping their limitations in mind.