ISL: Chennaiyin FC beats Bengaluru FC 2-1
Bengaluru: Chennaiyin FC inflicted a first home defeat on Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium and went level on points with the Blues in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 courtesy of a 2-1 win.
Jeje Lalpekhlua and Dhanpal Ganesh secured the win for Chennai by scoring on either side of a Sunil Chhetri equaliser.
The visitors were on the attack from the start and found the back of the net as early as the fifth minute. From a melee following a Chennaiyin attack, Lenny Rodrigues’ attempted clearance hit Chhetri and came towards Jeje. The Mizo sniper chested the ball down and smashed it home to give his team the lead.
That early setback spurred on the home team, and they started initiating attacks with fervour, as Chennai did their best to soak up the pressure. The Blues nearly equalised in the 18th minute, when Edu Garcia hit a low shot that hit the woodwork. Defender Inigo Calderon then did well to clear the ball before a lurking Chhetri could pounce on it.
Following that however, Bengaluru kept pressing without much joy as Chennai held their ground, refusing to provide any openings. The score-line remained unchanged for the remainder of the half as the visitors went into the break holding on to their early advantage.
Albert Roca brought on Udanta Singh in place of Rodrigues for the second half, and the winger made an immediate impact. Couple of minutes after the restart, he surged forward on the wing, and released Miku. The Venezuelan’s cut-back however, was scuffed by Chhetri with the goal at his mercy.
The visitors were mostly playing on the counter and twice found an opening in the 73rd minute. Each time, Raphael Augusto hit the shot on target with the outside of his right foot, and on both occasions, keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was well placed to make the save.
Chhetri however, made amends for his miss five minutes from time as the Blues finally made their pressure count. Toni Dovale found Bengaluru’s skipper unmarked on the edge of the box and lifted in a lovely ball to him. Chhetri took the ball down and put his laces through it, as Karanjit was beaten all ends up.
Chennaiyin responded three minutes later from a free-kick on the left flank. Substitute Rene Mihelic put in an inch-perfect ball towards Ganesh at the far post and the latter made no mistake with his header. Bengaluru tried to fight back again through efforts from Chhetri and Rahul Bheke but in the end, they couldn’t prevent their first home defeat of the season.