BENGALURU: The Blues turned pink in solidarity with women and their safety. Following the mass molestation incident on New Year’s Eve here, the defending I-League champions donned pink jerseys to initiate a change in the society and embark on a new journey.
A commanding 3-0 victory over visitors Shillong Lajong FC in their opening game at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Saturday was just the tonic for the city still recovering from that horrifying incident.
Musatafa Ghouse, CEO of BFC said: “We were really unhappy with the incident, and we wanted to do something about it. As a team, we’ve stood for many causes, and it was important for us to put a message across. We’ve always talked about providing a friendly experience at the stadium, so that kids, girls and aged people can be comfortable. But after the incident, it was not a comfortable feeling for us anymore. We’ll be continuing this effort throughout the season.”
A brace from young Udanta Singh and a 30-yard screamer from new man Lalhmangaihsanga Ralte on his debut did the trick. Prior to the game, coach Albert Roca had promised to raise the bar in terms of performance. But it was difficult considering the team’s new look midfield, in addition to the several missing players due to injury. The new members of the AFC Cup finalists – Lenny Rodrigues, Harmanjot Khabra, and Ralte had a month to adapt to Roca’s style. It was not easy as they hardly had 20 days before the game. Yet, they didn’t disappoint.
Khabra, deployed as a right-back, linked up well with Udanta down the flank and caused troubles for the Lajong defence. Ralte started slowly, failing to complete passes on quite a few occasions but his 30 yard goal was enough to give him the boost required ahead of the new season.
One positive from Bengaluru’s perspective was the rebirth of Udanta, who began the long season on a positive note after failing to impress earlier under Roca. “We controlled the game for almost 90 minutes and did not let them create many chances. I’m happy for the new signings. It was not easy for them coming to a new setup,” Roca said.