Bengaluru FC continued its climb up the ISL table with a 3-1 win over Chennaiyin FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday.
It was the home side’s fourth win on the trot, a streak that has lifted spirits after a forgettable first half of the season.
Whether it will eventually help seal a playoff spot – BFC is currently on 22 points from 16 games – remains to be seen, for all four remaining matches are against sides that are above.
On the day, BFC wasn’t really convincing, but was helped by a horrendous CFC display in the first half hour.
Roy Krishna helped the host take the lead in the 15th minute when he released N. Sivasakthi with a splendid long-ball from deep inside his own half and saw the in-form youngster calmly slot it home for his third goal of the campaign.
Then, the CFC mid-field duo of Jiteshwor Singh and Julius Duker made terrible mistakes, losing the ball under pressure close to their goal, and were duly picked off by Sivasakthi and Rohit Kumar.
CFC coach Tomas Brdaric rang in the changes during half-time, which included the substitution of captain Anirudh Thapa. The away side seemed transformed, with sub Edwin Vanspaul curling one from the right flank to reduce the deficit.
It could have been a different story if striker Peter Sliskovic and Vanspaul had hit the target from promising positions and Ninthoi Meetei was not thwarted by a fine close-range save from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
But BFC held on, managing the game well towards the end to leave CFC in a lowly eighth place (17 points from 15 matches), severely denting the two-time champion’s top-six chances.
The result: Bengaluru FC 3 (Sivasakthi 15, 23, Rohit 30) bt Chennaiyin FC 1 (Vanspaul 59).