Bengaluru dig deep to grind out a crucial win over Hyderabad

Bengaluru FC put in a resilient performance to beat Hyderabad FC 1-0 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday. The Blues failed to add to their opening goal early in the first half, which gave Hyderabad confidence that they could nick something from the encounter. However, resolute defending and massive saves by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu meant Carles Cuadrat and Co. went above ATK FC to capture the second place in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 table.

The defending champions started the match on the front foot, unleashing two quick shots via Sunil Chhetri and Deshorn Brown from outside the box. Minutes later, they found themselves in the lead as another masterful set-piece allowed Nishu Kumar to have an unchallenged effort from the edge of the box. The diminutive full-back made the most of it and hammered the ball past a helpless Laxmikant Kattimani into the back of the net.

The visitors had a substantial reply with Nikhil Poojary going on a mazy run and hitting a powerful effort, which had Gurpreet slightly worried.

Hyderabad’s response and confidence kept growing as the match headed forward. On the 23rd minute, the referee awarded the visitors a spot-kick after adjudging Marcelo Pereira was brought down inside the box by Blues youngster, Suresh Wangjam. Marko Stankovic stepped forward to take the penalty but his effort was well saved by Gurpreet, which kept the scoreline in Bengaluru’s favour.

Both sides notched up the intensity of their game in the next exchanges and had noteworthy attempts at the other’s goal. Brown almost set up Udanta Singh with a peach of a cross two minutes from the half an hour mark, while Marcelo had an effort of his own in the 35th minute.

Attack was very much the focus with the match heading towards half-time, although both outfits failed with their respective opportunities to end the first 45 1-0 in the home side’s favour.

Neither side had the upper hand in the opening minutes of the second half, with both of them guilty of giving away easy possession to the other. Brown was presented the first chance of the second 45 when Dimas Delgado played him through on goal in the 55th minute. The striker side-footed his attempt, but Hyderabad’s Kattimani proved equal to the task and kept the score down to 1-0.

Nishu was the next in line to have an attempt on goal a minute later, but Kattimani was once again, safely behind the ball. Hyderabad’s intentions to keep looking for an equaliser left them susceptible to Bengaluru attacks, although the likes of Ashique Kuruniyan, Nishu and Brown failed to convert from decent opportunities around the hour mark.

In the 68th minute, a mix-up in the Hyderabad defence allowed Ashique a clear chance on goal, but he failed to once again, find the right finish. That meant, Hyderabad were still in the game and they kept plugging away without finding a way past the Blues defence.

New signing Francisco Borges had a golden opportunity to double the home side’s lead in the 77th minute, but he smacked his effort against the upright. Ten minutes later, he found a similar opening and yet again, struck the post. The failure to find the second goal almost hurt the Blues in the last exchanges, although Gurpreet was again at his best to prevent Liston Colaco from scoring the equaliser.

Hero of the Match – Nishu Kumar

The youngster scored the goal that made the difference for Bengaluru on the night. He was equally good in the defensive side of things, accounting for five clearances, four interceptions and three blocks.


Club Award – Bengaluru FC

Maruti Suzuki Limitless Player of the Match – Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Dimas Delgado

ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Mohammed Yasir

Hero of the Match – Nishu Kumar

Watch the match highlights here:

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