Gurpreet On The Cusp Of First League Title

Thursday, 15 March 2018

This has been a defining season for Gurpreet Singh Sandhu as he returned home after a stint in Europe and he could simply end up making this the most memorable one.

The Bengaluru FC goalkeeper has never played 18 games in a top division league in his career and the manner in which he has performed in the Hero Indian Super League only goes to show just how much he has improved since leaving the country for Norway.

Gurpreet has never won a league title and the closest he came was with East Bengal when they finished runners-up twice in the I-League. Now, given his and the team’s current form, the 26-year-old could be pocketing his first league title.

“I haven't won it yet so I don't know (about the feeling).  If we win, it'll be a great feeling to have achieved something that I haven't before. We take one game at a time and that's what the aim is right now,” said the India number one.

His performance has been critical to Bengaluru’s hopes of winning the ISL title on debut. He is in terrific form and showed super reflexes to deny FC Pune City an early away goal in the crucial second leg semi-final and it is no surprise that he leads the race for the Golden Glove award.

Certainly, his stint at Stabaek FC in Norway has helped. He played regularly in the reserve league every weekend and the game-time has certainly gone a long way in making him a supremely confident goalkeeper

In India, he has been streets ahead of his competitors even in a league where goalkeepers have caught the eye. Subrata Paul (Jamshedpur FC), Karanjit Singh (Chennaiyin FC) and Amrinder Singh (Mumbai City FC) have all given a good account of themselves but nobody has been as impressive as Gurpreet.

Thanks to Gurpreet’s towering presence, Bengaluru FC have the best defensive record in the league with a mere 17 goals given away in 20 games. Gurpreet played in 18 of those matches, keeping seven clean sheets. His standout performance came in Bhubaneswar where he single-handedly kept Jamshedpur FC’s attacks at bay.

He will look for more of the same against Chennaiyin FC in the final on Saturday. And should he manage to do that, a league title will be his for the first time.