I-League: Bengaluru FC ends victory drought

Bengaluru FC claimed its first win in eight I-League games, defeating Minerva Punjab FC 1-0 at the Guru Nanak Stadium here on Sunday. Lenny Rodrigues found the target with a header in the 17th minute as Albert Roca secured his first away win as in-charge of the club.

Bengaluru FC striker Marjan Jugovic (right) fights for the ball during an I-League match against Minerva Punjab FC at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on Sunday.   -  Special Arrangement

Bengaluru FC claimed its first win in eight I-League games, defeating Minerva Punjab FC 1-0 at the Guru Nanak Stadium here on Sunday. Lenny Rodrigues found the target with a header in the 17th minute as Albert Roca secured his first away win as in-charge of the club. The result carried BFC to fourth place with 16 points from 11 games.

The I-League champion welcomed John Johnson back from injury, while Serbian striker Marjan Jugovic, signed last week, made his debut. Johnson, who played his last I-League game in January, demonstrated what BFC had missed, winning every aerial duel while giving central defensive partner Juan Gonzalez the freedom to join in attack.

But in what was the most important ‘first’ on the day for Bengaluru, Lenny Rodrigues soared high to nod home Cameron Watson’s corner, his maiden goal since joining the club in the summer.

Bengaluru kept pressing for a second with Jugovic and C.K. Vineeth working hard together on a pitch Roca had earlier criticized. Sandesh Jhingan saw a header from a corner bounce inches wide in the 40th minute while in the second half, Udanta Singh and Jugovic went close.

Roca threw in Harmanjot Khabra for Jugovic and Daniel Lalhlimpuia for Vineeth. Lalhlimpuia had more than a few efforts to double the lead, but BFC eventually settled for the one-nil win.

Bengaluru will next face Chennai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Chennai, on Wednesday.

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