Bengaluru sink Goa with late Chhetri winner

Bengaluru FC continued their unbeaten start to Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2018-19 after beating FC Goa 2-1 in a thrilling encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Thursday. Sunil Chhetri headed home the winner for the visitors in a match that also featured two red cards.

  • Rahul Bheke flicked Bengaluru into the lead in the 34th minute.
  • Mohamed Ali was shown a second yellow and a subsequent red early in the second half.
  • Dimas Delgado’s high boot then saw him receive his marching orders in the 59th minute mark.
  • Brandon Fernandes equalised for Goa in the 72nd minute.
  • Sunil Chhetri then scored the winner in the 77th minute to bag maximum points.

Miku’s surprising absence from the matchday squad dealt a serious blow to Bengaluru’s plan even before a ball was kicked. An instrumental cog in the Bengaluru attack and delightful with his interplay with Chhetri, the Venezuelan was certainly missed by the visitors in the opening exchanges of the match.

Goa felt their way into the match and created a glorious opportunity to take the lead in the 10th minute courtesy of Carlos Pena’s driven cross. Normally lethal with his efforts on goal, Goa striker Ferran Corominas failed to apply the right touch to the cross leading to the ball falling kindly to the feet of Hugo Boumous. The midfielder, however, was denied by an outrushing Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Quiet for the opening half hour, Chhetri suddenly sprung back to life as he caught Ahmed Jahouh tarrying on the ball on the edge of his box.  After winning the ball off him, the Indian striker hit a low drive which was well saved by Mohammad Nawaz.

Minutes later, the visitors finally broke the deadlock. Delgado located Xisco Hernandez with a deep cross on the edge of Goa’s box. The winger failed to get a proper connection on his shot, resulting in the ball making its way to Bheke’s feet. Without room and time to work with, the right-back pulled off an instinctive little flick to score his first Hero ISL goal.

The defender almost doubled the lead near half-time as Udanta Singh’s cross wasn’t dealt with well enough by Mourtada Fall. The alert Bheke unleashed a thundering effort but was unlucky to find the crossbar.

The second half was quite the opposite of the first as two minutes into it, Ali was shown a second yellow and a subsequent red card after handling the ball illegally. Tempers began to flare as Bengaluru tried to assert their control and make their numerical advantage tell. However, it was the other way around leading to Delgado flying into a challenge on Boumous with his foot up. The Bengaluru midfielder caught Boumous and as a result was shown a straight red.

With both sides a man down, there was plenty of space for both teams to work with. Nishu Kumar almost made perfect use of it after being setup by Chhetri, but his shot was well smothered by Nawaz. Three minutes later, Goa finally got a goal themselves thanks to the playmaking skills of Corominas. The striker skipped his way past a couple of challenges inside Bengaluru’s box to set up an unmarked Fernandes. The winger’s shot deflected off Jackichand Singh, catching Sandhu wrong-footed and equaling the score with a quarter of the match left to go.

However, Goa’s jubilation was cut short by Chhetri five minutes later. Udanta swung in a delicious cross which was met at the far post by the India and Bengaluru captain for his fifth goal of the season. It handed the visitors a slender advantage going into the final 10 minutes of the match. Chhetri almost killed off the match late on, but his shot rattled off the crossbar. The visitors eventually hung on to their lead in the remaining minutes to ensure their unbeaten start to the season continued.

Hero of the Match - Sunil Chhetri

The Bengaluru captain had a quiet match by his own standards but was still able to be decisive as he headed home the winner. The Indian striker almost scored another deep into the match only to see his effort hit the crossbar. Despite missing his striker partner, Chhetri still managed to conjure four shots on goal.

Club Awards

Club award- Bengaluru FC

Swift Limitless Player of the Match- Rahul Bheke

DHL Winning Pass of the Match- Udanta Singh

ISL Emerging Player of the Match- Brandon Fernandes

Hero of the Match- Sunil Chhetri

What’s next?

Bengaluru FC will host Delhi Dynamos FC on Monday hoping to continue their winning momentum. The Gaurs, on the other hand, will be on the road to Kolkata where they’ll face two-time Hero ISL winners ATK.

Watch the match highlights here:

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