The reigning Durand Cup champions Bengaluru aiming for a bigger goal to win ISL for the second time

The most successful Indian club of the previous decade added another silverware to their decorated trophy cabinet

After conquering the 2022 Durand Cup edition, the Namma Boys are now getting ready for the challenge of the Indian top-flight league. The Blues are determined to reclaim their lost supremacy after suffering misfortune in the past two Indian Super League campaigns. ‘Parimatch News‘ brings an exhaustive analysis of Bengaluru for ISL 9. 

Bengaluru had a perfect kick-off to the 2022-23 domestic season after clinching the prestigious Durand Cup trophy. However, their journey did not commence smoothly as they had to sweat hard for their knockout qualification and ended up in the second position in Group A standings.

The Blues then faced Odisha and the ISL defending champions Hyderabad in the following two knockout games and emerged victorious on both occasions. They were up against the dark horses Mumbai City in the Grand Finale where they thrashed the former ISL double winners to claim the crown of Asia’s oldest existing football competition. 

A look at last season’s performance

Bengaluru kick-started their 2021-22 ISL campaign with a thumping 4-2 win over NorthEast United in the opening fixture of the season. But then went on an undefeated streak of the seven games which blew away the big plans of the German gaffer Marco Pezzaiuoli. The second win of the season for the Blues came in the ninth when they were standing at the 10th position and almost half of the season was already consummated. 

The playoff qualification was looking possible for the Karnataka-based outfit when they were seated in the third position during the 17th matchday. But the fate of losing three out of the final five league games eventually cost them a ticket to the ISL playoffs. The Kannada Bherundas fell short of five match points and failed to advance through the next stage for the second time in a row. 

New signings ahead of the 2022-23 ISL season 

Roy Krishna’s stay with the ATK Mohun Bagan finally comes to an end after a three-year association as the Fijian chooses Bengaluru as his next destination. The 35-year-old veteran striker has already established himself as an ISL legend after scoring 38 goals in 60 appearances which is the fourth highest individual tally in the history of this league. Krishna was also the joint second-highest goal-scorer for the Karnataka-based outfit in their recent Durand Cup triumph. 

A dream start to the new era of Bengaluru

A dream start to the new era of Bengaluru 

The Spanish attacking midfielder Javier Hernandez has left the Juggernauts camp and will be seen marching the banner of West Block Blues. Bengaluru will be his fourth destination in the fourth ISL season having previously played for clubs like ATK Mohun Bagan and Odisha.  The La Masia graduate’s goal contribution of 11 consisting of six goals and five assists was the second-highest for Kalinga Warriors in the previous season.  

The Blues authorities have bolstered their defensive line with two Indian defenders who were teammates at ATK Mohun Bagan for the past two seasons. The 26-year-old right-back Prabir Das has arrived at the Karnataka-based outfit in a swap deal which includes the departure of Ashique Kuruniyan to his former. Meanwhile, the stalwart central defender Sandesh Jhingan has made a comeback to the BFC as he also spent a loan stint with them back in the year 2017. 

The 2018-19 edition champions have parted ways with the Iranian defensive midfielder Iman Basafa who could only make seven appearances for them. The 33-year-old Australian centre-back Aleksandar Jovanovic has been chosen to fill out the place of the six foreigners from the AFC member nation. Jovanovic most recently was the part of A-League outfit Macarthur where he made 33 appearances in the Australian top-flight league across two seasons. 

Predicted Starting XI

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; Prabir Das, Sandesh Jhingan, Alan Costa, Naorem Roshan Singh; Bruno Ramires, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Javi Hernandez; Sivasakthi Narayanan, Roy Krishna, Sunil Chhetri 


The Englishman Simon Grayson has taken the charge of the Blues replacing Marco Pezzaiuoli who donned the same role in the past two seasons. The former Leeds United manager has arrived in India with a high-profile coaching CV, having special mention of many elite English clubs. His reign at the Karnataka-based outfit has kick-started with a bang as he guided them to the triumph in his very first assignment of Durand Cup. 

The Blues' frontline is breathing fire!

The Blues’ frontline is breathing fire! 

The forward line of Bengaluru features the names of experienced knights like Roy Krishna and Sunil Chhetri while the blend of youth in the form of Sivasakthi Narayanan is also there. The two full-backs Roshan Singh and Prabir Das are adept in the offense department and will be responsible for releasing ample crosses aiming towards the number 9 Krishna. The 21-year-old forward Sivasakthi had a career-defining Durand Cup campaign where he fetched five goals which was the second-best performance by an Indian after Lallianzuala Chhangte. 

Bengaluru is widely acknowledged as one of the best places for Indian youngsters to groom and deliver their best on the field. As the club has a culture of promoting domestic talents in key positions and will be also doing the same in the forthcoming season as well. Meanwhile, the current roster of the Blues also features quality names who will be playing in those prominent positions which gives them an edge over the other ISL sides. 


The predicted starting lineup and pool of the first-choice players are looking great on paper but the squad depth is something that may crash their plans. We have seen many giant outfits stumbling midway through the season in recent times after lacking credible options to sustain the triumphant run till the final matchday. Hence it will be a big challenge for the team management to bring the best out of the bench if the first eleven suffer any injury crisis in future.   

Bengaluru had a positive start in both of their previous seasons but couldn’t continue the momentum and ended up outside the Top 4. Marco Pezzaiuoli came to India with a promise to enlarge the trophy cabinet of the club but sooner his influence faded away due to the lack of consistency. Simon Grayson can also suffer the same feat if he doesn’t make the necessary changes to aim for long-term outcomes. 

Season Prediction 

The recent triumph has already made them favorites to clinch the title when the ISL caravan reaches the month of March in 2023. The playoff qualification will be just a formality for the Blues if they can replicate the performance which they showcased in the Durand Cup competition. Bengaluru is currently standing on bright chances to make further progress in the league stages, especially after the change in league format which will allow six teams to participate in the knockout round.