Bengaluru overcome ATK, go four points clear at the top
Bengaluru FC won their third game on the trot when they beat defending champions ATK 2 – 0 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday. Jordi Montel’s own-goal gave the league debutants an early lead before Miku scored his tenth of the season in the second period to seal all three points for the visitors.
The game started with a bang as Bengaluru wasted little time in taking the lead. As early as the third minute, Udanta Singh chipped in a cross from the right flank. Defender Jordi attempted to clear the ball, but only managed to put it past a hapless Debjit Majumder into his own net.
The 17th minute saw the Blues finding another opening when Debjit’s poor clearance came straight to Miku, and the Venezuelan’s shot hit Jordi before falling for Edu Garcia. The latter’s shot was straight at Debjit, who fumbled but was lucky that the ATK defence was at hand to clear the ball.
The defending champions nearly got the leveller three minutes after the half-hour mark. Bipin Singh’s cross was headed away by John Johnson, but the ball came straight to Jayesh Rane who tried to head it home the first time. Unfortunately, with custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu beaten, the ball came off the upright and just before Rane could pounce on the rebound, Rahul Bheke cleared it.
Six minutes later, Ryan Taylor tried his luck from a long way out, but with the shot on target, Gurpreet stretched and made a fine save. That proved to be the last chance of the half as the visitors went into the break with the one-goal lead.
Twelve minutes following the restart, substitute Robbie Keane threaded a pass to Martin Paterson who cut in and got his shot away. Gurpreet though came up with another good save. Nine minutes past the hour mark, the Blues created their own problems when Bheke got booked a second time to receive his marching orders, reducing them to 10 men.
However, Bengaluru squandered a big chance to double their advantage in the 71st minute. With Debjit fumbling a cross and out of position, Miku crept in and took a powerful shot on target only to find Ashutosh Mehta, who positioned himself well to clear the ball off the line.
However, the Venezuelan made no mistake seven minutes from time. Miku was put through on goal by a lovely ball from Erik Paartalu in midfield. He outpaced Jordi easily before beating Debjit with a cool finish.
Two minutes later, Keane tried to curl one in from just outside the box, but a sprawling Gurpreet came to Bengaluru’s rescue, yet again. That was the last bit of real action from the game as the Blues went four points clear at the top of the table, while ATK’s chances of making the playoffs drowned further into darkness.
Club Award: Bengaluru FC
Swift Moment of the Match: Ashutosh Mehta
DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Erik Paartalu
Amul Fittest Player: Jayesh Rane
Emerging Player: Subhasish Bose
Hero of the Match: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Watch the match highlights here: