An opportunistic goal from Miku early in the second half made the difference for Bengaluru FC (BFC) as it downed the local favourite North East United FC (NEUFC) by a solitary goal in an Indian Super League match here at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Friday.
The Venezuelan striker finished an unlikely opportunity which came his way as the host goalkeeper T. P. Rehenesh made a defensive error, gifting the visitor a chance which could not be missed. The host played a better game but the visitor showed that it possessed one of the best attacks in the tournament in snatching the win.
NEUFC dominated the opening session with regular incursions in the Bengaluru zone. The visitor looked to rely on a counter-attacking game, while the host enjoyed the space available in the creative zone. The visitor came to tide over the goalkeeping problems ; it fielded Lalthuammawia Ralte to guard its citadel, apparently by brining the goalkeeper out of the injury list. Bengaluru coach Albert Roca did not wish to try the inexperienced Calvin Abhishek for the important job. Ralte proved his coach right, making at least three good saves that kept the scoreline intact for the visitor.
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Ralte was tested early in the sixth minute when NEUFC’s Brazilian striker Danilo Cezario fired a powerful shot from around 30 yards. Bengaluru came briefly in the game with its attacking trio – captain Sunil Chhetri, Miku and Kuman Udanta Singh – coordinating well in the striking zone. BFC almost got the breakthrough in the 21st minute as Chhetri foxed the NEUFC defence with a darting run. The India captain just could not get past Rehenesh, who had narrowed the gap on him.
The host got close to scoring around the half-hour mark but Danilo could not finish it as Ralte came in to BFC’s rescue.
Just as the host kept floundering with its chances, BFC found the mark early after the break. Rehenesh made the mistake of landing the ball close to his own box when Nirmal Chetri gave him a back-pass looking for a long clearance. Udanta Singh, who was lurking behind the NEUFC centre-back Jose Goncalves, moved up to intercept and set up Miku, who had moved up inside the NEUFC box sensing the goal. The unmarked Venezuelan striker made no mistake with his placement to get BFC the vital lead. NEUFC tried to make its way back but Ralte stopped couple of good attempts from Danilo and Marcinho to keep lead intact.
Bengaluru moved back to the top of the points table, netting nine points from four matches, while Miku joined FC Goa’s Ferran Corrominas on top of the individual scorers list, netting his fourth goal of the tournament.
The result: North East United FC 0 lost to Bengaluru FC 1 (Miku 47).