Chhetri nets brace against former side as Bengaluru beat Mumbai

Bengaluru FC climbed to the summit of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 after beating Mumbai City FC 3-1 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday. Sunil Chhetri struck twice for Bengaluru on either side of the break, while Miku extended their lead before Leo Costa pulled one back for the Islanders.

The Blues had the first opportunity of the encounter in the 5th minute when Erik Paartalu tried his luck from the edge of the penalty box. The Australian’s attempt though was a disappointing one and failed to test the goalkeeper.

Mumbai had a chance three minutes later after Achille Emana found Balwant Singh on the left. Balwant, however, couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball while trying to get his shot away and ended up skying his effort over the crossbar.

Emana then decided to shoot on goal himself in the 15th minute but Bengaluru custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu parried his attempt away, low to his left. Bengaluru’s Venezuelan hitman Miku had his first effort on goal three minutes later but his header off a cross from the left went wide of the target.

The hosts’ skipper Chhetri got into the game in the 25th minute after receiving a ball on the edge of the box from Udanta Singh. Chhetri managed to keep his shot on target but it was saved easily by the goalkeeper. Mumbai had a big chance of taking the lead in the 35th minute after a wonderful cross by Everton Santos found Balwant, who produced a powerful header and forced an excellent save from the Bengaluru goalkeeper.

They were made to pay for the miss as the visitors broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute after Balwant brought down Chhetri in the penalty area. The Bengaluru captain stepped up to the spot and placed the penalty into the top left corner with aplomb to give his team the lead. The visitors also had two opportunities to double their advantage before the break but Udanta and Chhetri both failed to hit the target as Mumbai went in for the half-time interval trailing 1-0.

The Blues could have made it 2-0 five minutes after the restart when Miku was sent through on goal by Boithang Haokip but the Venezuelan somehow missed the target to the relief of the home fans. Bengaluru did have their two-goal cushion two minutes later, however, thanks to Chhetri. The Bengaluru skipper executed another stunning finish into the same corner as his penalty, to convert Udanta’s cross and make it 2-0.

Miku scored Bengaluru’s third shortly after the hour-mark by drilling a free-kick low from the edge of the box into Amrinder Singh’s right corner. The Venezuelan could have scored his second four minutes later as he tapped into an unguarded net only for Sehnaj Singh to make a goal-line clearance.

Costa gave Mumbai a lifeline 14 minutes from full-time when he calmly slotted Balwant’s pass in between Sandhu’s legs to make it 3-1. The Islanders did their best to raise the ante in hope of getting something from the game but Bengaluru’s defence held firm to take home maximum points.

MATCH AWARDS

Club Award: Bengaluru FC

Swift Moment of the Match: Leo Costa

DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Boithang Haokip

Amul Fittest Player: Harmanjot Khabra

Emerging Player: Udanta Singh

Hero of the Match: Sunil Chhetri

Watch the match highlights here:

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