Chhetri’s strike helps Bengaluru edge past ATK

Bengaluru FC beat ATK 1-0 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru in Hero Super League (ISL) 2017-18 on Sunday. Bengaluru skipper Sunil Chhetri scored the only goal of the game in the 39th minute to take Bengaluru to the top of the points table with 18 points. 

The hosts could have taken the lead as early as the fifth minute from an Edu Garcia corner. Their midfield powerhouse Erik Paartalu headed the ball goal-wards but it was blocked and fell in front of the Bengaluru players, who failed to get a shot away from five yards out.

The Blues continued to dominate proceedings as the half developed but ATK started to grow into the game after the 15th-minute mark. Zequinha fashioned a shot on goal in the 16th minute but Bengaluru’s defence did well to block his effort.

ATK’s Portuguese attacker then, found an unmarked Robin Singh in the box 10 minutes later. Kolkata’s target-man headed the ball sideways as it went to Rupert Nongrum, who took too long to get his shot away, allowing Bengaluru’s defence to block it.

It served as a wake-up call for the home side who upped the ante and nearly took the lead in the 33rd minute. A Garcia free-kick was met by a Erik Paartalu header before it rattled the woodwork and went to Rahul Bheke on the rebound. But the Bengaluru defender failed to make the most of the opportunity.

Bengaluru did, however, take a first half lead thanks to some brilliant work from Chhetri. Conor Thomas conceded possession in midfield cheaply, allowing Chhetri to take a touch and unleash a venomous effort from outside the box for a 1-0 lead heading into the break.

The visitors began the second period in search of an equaliser and nearly had one just before the hour-mark, thanks to Robbie Keane, who received the ball in a central area and created some space to get a shot away. Bengaluru custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu though managed to make a save and keep his side in the lead.

Two minutes later, Bengaluru had an opportunity to extend their advantage after Miku found Dimas Delgado with a delightful touch. Delgado then split ATK’s backline with a pass to Chhetri, who couldn’t get his shot away thanks to Tom Thorpe’s last-ditch tackle. The ball, however, fell invitingly for Miku whose shot was well-saved by Debjit Majumder in ATK’s goal.

The home side struck the woodwork again after substitute Braulio Nobrega dribbled past ATK’s defence and entered the penalty box. His shot though hit the post and allowed ATK’s Keegan Pereira to clear the danger.

The last noteworthy chance of the game also went Bengaluru’s way after Paartalu picked out Garcia with a delightful lob. Garcia’s shot, however, was saved by ATK as Chhetri’s first-half strike proved to be enough to give Bengaluru maximum points in the end.

MATCH AWARDS

Club Award: Bengaluru FC

Swift Moment of the Match: Shankar Sampingraj

DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Erik Paartalu

Amul Fittest Player: Sunil Chhetri

Emerging Player: Subhasish Bose

Hero of the Match: Juanan

Watch the match highlights here:

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