Bengaluru defeat 10-men Chennaiyin to pick up fourth successive victory
Bengaluru FC became the first team to reach 30 points this season when they beat Chennaiyin FC 3 – 1 in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday. Boithang Haokip’s first league goal for the Blues was cancelled out by Francisco Fernandes’ first for Chennaiyin. Miku got back the lead for the visitors before the host’s captain Henrique Sereno was sent off. Jeje Lalpekhlua was then left to rue a missed penalty as Bengaluru skipper Sunil Chhetri sealed the deal for his team deep into injury time.
The game got off to a flying start with the Blues getting themselves in front as early as in the second minute. Harmanjot Khabra swung in a cross from the right flank which was headed down by Chhetri towards Haokip. The 26-year-old’s shot resulted in the ball going through custodian Karanjit Singh’s legs and into the net.
With a quarter of an hour on the clock, Gregory Nelson went on a superb run on the left, following which he cut in and let fly. His shot, however, was way off target. Six minutes later, Nelson had another crack from outside the box. While this time his shot was on target, keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu sprawled to punch the ball away.
The 2015 champions restored parity three minutes after the half-hour mark. Jerry Lalrinzuala whipped in a cross from the left and Francisco was well-placed in the box to rise high and head home. That proved to be the last bit of action from the half as the teams went into the break locked at 1 – 1.
Bengaluru regained their lead three minutes after the hour mark. Dimas Delgado chipped in a free-kick from the edge of the box and Chettri lashed onto a half-volley. Karanjit managed to save the shot but Miku was at hand to tuck in the rebound.
Chhetri could have got a third for his team four minutes later when he pierced the defence with one of his runs, but his shot lacked enough power as Karanjit got down to make the save. Things got worse for the hosts with 19 minutes left on the clock as Sereno was sent off for a second bookable offence, which reduced his team to ten men for the remainder of the game.
Chennaiyin then got a lifeline with quarter of an hour to play. Khabra was deemed to have brought down Dhanpal Ganesh inside the box, prompting the referee to point to the spot. Jeje Lalpekhlua stepped up, but his penalty was surprisingly weak, allowing Gurpreet to make the save before the Bengaluru defence cleared the ball away.
Chhetri then sealed the deal for the Blues in the last minute of injury time. Udanta Singh crept behind the defence and laid the ball for Bengaluru’s skipper in front of an empty net. The latter took a touch and put the ball into the back of the net for his ninth goal of the season. That finished off the game as Bengaluru opened up a seven-point lead at the top of the table, which almost seals their place in the playoffs.
Club Award: Bengaluru FC
Swift Moment of the Match: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Sunil Chhetri
Amul Fittest Player: Francisco Fernandes
Emerging Player: Jerry Lalrinzuala
Hero of the Match: Dimas Delgado
Watch the match highlights here: