After an impressive debut season in 2017, Bengaluru FC enjoyed a title-winning run in the 2018-19 season of the Indian Super League (ISL), to secure their maiden title in the league. After a 90 minutes that must have seemed like an eternity for the Blues from Bangalore, Rahul Bheke decided to settle the score by way of an extra-time header against FC Goa. Ahead of a new season in the ISL, here's a recap of Bengaluru's 2018-19 season in the ISL.
The Sunil Chhetri-led side enjoyed the longest unbeaten run in the league last time around, going without defeat for a run of 11 games. They also enjoyed an unbeaten season at their home ground, the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. While their home ground may have gotten embroiled in some slight controversy due to the legal battle with Karnataka-based athletes, rest assured Bengaluru FC retain their fortress as their home ground this season too. Bengaluru custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu also ended up with the most clean sheets in the 2018-19 season, thus securing the Bengaluru number one's Golden Glove.
After labouring to a 1-0 win over Chennayin FC in their opening fixture, courtesy of a Miku strike, Bengaluru FC were slated to play Jamshedpur FC in their second fixture. After going up twice against their opponents, Bengaluru ultimately surrendered their lead in the dying minutes of the game, to end up sharing points with their fellow relative newcomers in the ISL. After the international break, Bengaluru played their first away game of the season against Pune City FC. Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri was the match-winner this time around, as he netted two goals in the fixture, with Miku scoring one again to round up a 3-0 win against Pune City FC.
After a series of nervy away wins against ATK, Kerala and Goa, Bengaluru were well placed to progress to the playoffs once again. Close defeats against Chennayin FC and Delhi Dynamos followed, and a 5-1 drubbing away to Jamshedpur FC meant that the defeat left a bitter taste in the mouths of Bengaluru fans, but they had made it through to the playoffs. After a 2-1 defeat against NorthEast United in the first leg, Bengaluru had another chance to go through to the final. A win by a margin of three goals would secure their passage, and Miku, Delgado and captain Sunil Chhetri duly stepped up to secure a victory and keep their unbeaten run at home intact.
A stressful 1-0 win against FC Goa in the final meant that Sunil Chhetri and co finally had their hands on some silverware, after agonisingly missing out on the trophy last season. All in all, Bengaluru FC couldn't have asked for a more productive season, after improving on their second-place finish the season before. After a couple of shrewd acquisitions for the coming season, Bengaluru FC will have the opportunity to become the first team in ISL history to retain the trophy.