Second-half masterclass sees Bengaluru FC topple FC Goa at the summit

Bengaluru FC taught FC Goa a real lesson in football as the Blues rode on a clinical second-half display to emerge 3-0 victors on a night that saw heavy drama at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday. The win takes the Blues back to the top of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) table with Sergio Lobera’s men having to settle for second place.

  • Nishu Kumar was sent-off late in the first-half following two yellow cards.
  • Juanan struck in the 50th minute to hand Carles Cuadrat’s men the lead.
  • Udanta Singh scored a brilliant breakaway goal to double Bengaluru’s advantage eight minutes later.
  • Miku showed signs of his 'return to form' as his breathtaking effort made it 3-0 in favour of the Blues.

The Gaurs came into the fixture on the back of a sensational run of results and were unchanged. Bengaluru, on the other hand, opted to rest skipper Sunil Chhetri but were still able to field a strong starting XI featuring the likes of Miku and Dimas Delgado. 

Chief midfield orchestrator, Ahmed Jahouh had been trying his luck with long-rangers in the last few matches and did so again in the fourth minute, robbing Xisco Hernandez of possession before unleashing a low, powerful drive that hit the post via the fingertips of goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Goa’s superior form was evident in much of the opening proceedings with the Blues hardly getting any foothold in the tie. Xisco had two decent chances to hit the target around the halfway point of the first 45, but the playmaker’s effort lacked conviction on both occasions. 

The defining moment of a goalless first half came when Blues left-back Nishu Kumar was given his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card. The Bengaluru youngster was first booked for pulling back Jackichand Singh in the 25th minute before committing a second offence on the same player late in the first half.

The furious Blues, however, could have gone in ahead at half-time after a clever set-piece from Xisco gave Harmanjot Khabra the chance to get his head to it, which in turn, was saved brilliantly by Naveen Kumar. That proved to be the end of the first period.

Despite being a man down, Carles Cuadrat’s Bengaluru started the second 45 with real intent and got their reward almost immediately. Xisco found space on the flanks and whipped in an inviting cross that found Miku unmarked. The striker instead of taking a shot flicked the ball around the corner which was met in style by centre-back Juanan.  

Goa was left shell-shocked and looked to be inflicting their own wounds as just minutes later, Mourtada Fall presented Miku with an open chance which the striker couldn’t take well enough. Udanta however, made sure that his team did not regret passing up that opportunity three minutes later. Delgado picked out the winger’s run with a sensational outside-of-the-foot pass. The 22-year-old did the rest as he hammered the ball past a helpless Naveen. 

The Gaurs were still not sure what had happened since the half-time whistle but could have halved the deficit ten minutes later, when Ferran Corominas showed good awareness to latch onto a loose ball inside the Blues box. Brandon Fernandes, however, took control of the situation and hit the crossbar.

As the match wore on, Bengaluru looked hungry for more and got another near the 70th minute when Miku decided to try his luck from 30-yards. The striker’s effort had real venom and surprised Naveen in the Goa goal, making it 3-0 in favour of the home side.

Leading three nil, the Blues were this time guilty of complacency as Corominas beat Sandhu to a back pass and presented Hugo Boumous with the easiest of tapping in from 10-yards. The substitute, however, skied his effort. Bengaluru substitute Gursimrat Singh too, had an effort that hit the crossbar deep into the match.

Hero of the Match – Miku

The Venezuelan had looked out-of-sorts in the last few weeks and desperately needed a performance like this. His goal was perhaps, the best on a night filled with some cracking efforts. 

CLUB AWARDS

Club Awards - Bengaluru FC

Swift Limitless Player of the Match Juanan

DHL Winning Pass of the Match Dimas Delgado

ISL Emerging Player of the Match Brandon Fernandes

Hero of the Match – Miku

WHAT’S NEXT?

Bengaluru FC will end their league campaign with an away trip to Jamshedpur FC next Wednesday while FC Goa welcomes defending champions Chennaiyin FC a day later.

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