Bengaluru back to winning ways as Chennaiyin’s woes continue

Reigning Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions Bengaluru FC registered their first win of the season with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Southern rivals Chennaiyin FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday. Carles Cuadrat’s men drew their opening three matches and will be relieved to have put their first win of the campaign behind them as the league heads into its first international break. For Chennaiyin, however, the wait for a much-needed victory continues as they find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table with just one point from four fixtures.

With Paartalu back in the starting line-up, Bengaluru made a bright start to the match and created a flurry of early opportunities. Juanan almost got on the score sheet but was denied by Vishal Kaith’s sharp reactions in the Chennaiyin goal.

The Chennaiyin defence just about hung on as wave after wave of Bengaluru attacks kept them pegged back. Sunil Chhetri was unlucky not to have opened the scoring after his diving header from a Rahul Bheke cross went out after hitting the post in the 11th minute. The relentless pressure, however, paid off three minutes later as Paartalu leapt the highest to meet a Dimas Delgado corner and cushioned it home past a stranded Kaith to make it 1-0.

The home team did seem to put their foot off the gas momentarily after the goal and were almost made to pay in the 22nd minute as Andre Schembri squandered a good chance to equalise. The Blues promptly made sure they made the opposition pay and scored the second goal in the 25th minute. Chhetri beat Kaith at his near post with a scorching drive after being sent through on goal by Raphael Augusto.

Chennaiyin could have very well conceded a third minutes later, but a double-save by Kaith and some last ditch defending at the far post somehow managed to avert the danger.

The first-half eventually ended with the scoreboard reading 2-0 in favour of the home side.

The start of the second-half saw the away side trying to mount a comeback as they created a few half chances. Edwin Sydney Vanspaul’s shot from range flew just wide after taking a deflection while Dhanpal Ganesh headed just wide from the subsequent corner. Rafael Crivellaro then drew out a very presentable save from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu - all in the opening 10 minutes after the restart.

Both sides kept trading half chances thereafter and Chennaiyin saw a penalty appeal turned down around the 70-minute mark after Crivellaro went down inside the box following a heavy challenge. Bengaluru had a similar fate with their claim for a spot kick minutes later after Chhetri went down following Edwin’s sliding tackle.

Chennaiyin should have pulled a goal back in the 82nd minute, but couldn’t find the net despite two bites at the cherry. Ganesh hit the crossbar and Lucian Goian failed to keep his effort down from the follow up. Seconds later, though, Bengaluru managed to find the third of the night at the other end after substitute Semboi Haokip outmuscled Eli Sabia and slotted it past Kaith. It could have been even worse for the visitors shortly after but Chhetri, uncharacteristically, failed to tap in a Dimas cut back. The contest eventually ended 3-0 in Bengaluru’s favour.

Hero of the Match – Erik Paartalu

The midfielder, returning after a long injury layoff, had an instant impact on Bengaluru’s fate. The towering Aussie opened the scoring and provided some much-needed dynamism in Bengaluru’s midfield with his passing range and physical presence. He was the Hero of the Match.

AWARDS

Club Award – Bengaluru FC

Maruti Suzuki Limitless Player of the Match – Sunil Chhetri

DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Raphael Augusto

ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Ashique Kuruniyan

Hero of the Match – Erik Paartalu

Watch the match highlights here:

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