A brace from Sunil Chhetri & Miku’s 9th goal of the season helped Bengaluru FC go back to the top spot after a 3-1 win over the Islanders at the Arena. Leo Costa’s consolation goal gave us some hope but it wasn’t enough on the night.
The game had a pacy start with both teams showing attacking intent in the early stages of the game. Erik Paartalu had the first attempt of the game but his shot from the edge of the box went wide of the goal in the 5th minute. Three minutes later, Achille Emana broke down the middle with plenty of space & he passed it on to Balwant Singh on the left whose shot went blazing over the goal.
Emana was involved once again, he got free of the BFC defence & tested Gurpreet Singh in goal as he made a save low down to his left. The visitors were fighting neck-to-neck as Miku beat his marker in the box & sent in a low cross which got deflected away, the ball was picked up by Chhetri & his cross from the left found the Venezuelan who failed to keep his header on target.
Udanta Singh’s pace helped him break past the defence & set-up Chhetri who took a first time shot that was straight at Amrinder Singh, who made a simple save. Just after the 30th minute mark, Raju Gaikwad was unable to continue due to an injury & was replaced by Davinder Singh. Custodian, Amrinder was involved as Haokip went for a curling effort into the top right corner which was well saved.
A couple of minutes later, the Islanders should have been ahead after Balwant got a free header in the box from an inch-perfect cross by Everton Santos that was straight at goal & Gurpreet was forced to make a save. This probably was the best chance of the game so far. Balwant was into the action once again, but this time for a foul on Khabra & was shown a yellow card by the referee. The game was heating up with Paartalu being the next one to go into the referee’s book after he brought Thiago Santos down.
In the 42nd minute, BFC won a penalty after Sunil Chhetri went down, making the most of a soft touch from Balwant Singh. Amrinder was shown a yellow card for his protests. Chhetri got back on his feet & put the ball towards the right of the keeper for the first goal of the game. At the stroke of half-time, BFC had another chance after Udanta got inside the box & took a shot that hit the side netting.
The Islanders started the second half with intent, Balwant played Emana through on the right flank & he tried to set-up Thiago but the BFC defence stopped the attack. In the 50th minute, Haokip put Miku through on goal in a one-on-one situation, he took his time but put his shot wide of the post. They didn’t have to rue the missed opportunity for long, Udanta put a low cross to Chhetri who finished the attack into the top left corner for his second goal on the night.
Leo Costa was introduced in place of Captain, Lucian Goian in the 57th minute & he was involved straight into the game but his shot was over the goal. Gerson Vieira brought down Miku at the edge of the box & the striker found the back of the net from the free-kick as he drilled a low shot & beat a wrong footed Amrinder Singh.
The visitors were not looking to hold back, Juanan’s header from Delgado’s cross found Miku in the box, who beat Amrinder but Sehnaj Singh made a fantastic goal line clearance to keep the score line at 3-0. Brazilian midfielder, Leo Costa pulled one back for the Islanders in the 76th minute after he controlled the ball well & slotted it through Gurpreet’s legs. In the next attack itself, Emana had an opportunity from a free-kick, he couldn’t get the ball past the BFC defence & another attack was cut down by the visitors.
It was a tough night for the Islanders as they suffered back-to-back defeats at the Arena. The next battle is an away game to FC Goa on 28th January.