ISL 2019-20: NorthEast United restricts Bengaluru to draw - Talking points

Bengaluru FC had to settle for a point against Robert Jarni's NorthEast United on Monday. Here are the major talking points from the ISL 2019-20 game.

Bengaluru FC was restricted to a goalless draw in ISL 2019-20 campaign opener as Robert Jarni's NorthEast United kept the defending champion's attack at bay.

Carles Cuadrat handed debuts to Ashique Kuruniyan, Raphael Augusto and Manuel Onwu as lined his team up in a 4-3-3 formation. Kuruniyan and Augusto excelled for the host but Udanta Singh's dismal finishing saw their effort go in vain. Sunil Chhetri too was left frustrated on Monday as he failed to find the net.

As for NorthEast United, captain and new signing Asamoah Gyan was denied a goal twice -- once by the linesman and later the crossbar. Martin Chaves put up a commendable performance for the Highlanders, coming close to scoring on a couple of ocasions.

Here are the major talking points from the match:

1) New role for debutant Ashique Kuruniyan

Ashique Kuruniyan, who made his Bengaluru FC debut on Monday, was deployed as a full-back against NorthEast United. Joining Nishu Kumar, Juanan and Rahul Bheke in the back-four, Ashique guarded the left side of defence.

Sprinting down the flanks, he often moved up the pitch while attacking and also came close to finding the net in the 16th minute. After Juanan found Ashique with a fine pass, he ran swiftly through the left wing, before aiming for the far post with a long-range strike.

2) Raphael Augusto shines on Bengaluru debut

Roped in from rival Chennaiyin FC, Raphael Augusto was arguably the star player for Bengaluru on a rainy evening at the Kanteerava. Playing in the center with Dimas Delgado and Harmanjot Khabra, Augusto played a crucial role in Bengaluru's attack.

With his well-timed through balls, Augusto kept the Bengaluru attack flowing. He set up Udanta on goal around the half-hour mark, but the winger's shoddy finishing saw the chance slip away.

3) Martin Chaves steps up in attack

Uruguayan striker Martin Chaves had the first shot on target in the match as he piled pressure on the Bengaluru defenders.

He tested goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu with a thumping strike from distance, in the 20th minute. Getting the better of Juanan, he cut in with his right foot before unleashing a powerful shot that forced Gurpreet to pull off a diving save.

Chaves kept NorthEast alive in the game but was marred by misfortune as he was denied the goal by the crossbar in the first half. He remained impressive in attack on a day when Gyan failed to take charge.

4) Asamoah Gyan needs time to settle

NorthEast's high-profile signing Gyan had a sub-par debut and failed to get on the scoresheet. Gyan, who is the all-time leading goal scorer for Ghana, struggled to gel with the team in his first match in India.

Though the 33-year-old found the net minutes before the break, the strike was ruled out as it was deemed offside. For most of the match, Gyan was kept quiet as Chaves took upon himself to find the net.

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