Thanks for tuning into Sportstar’s live coverage of the Indian Super League 2022-23 second fixture between Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United FC. This was Nihit Sachdeva bringing you all the updates as the action unfolded at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.
MATCH REPORT:Bengaluru FC beats NorthEast United FC 1-0 after late header from Costa
Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri:It wasn’t easy. We had the game in our hands. In the first half, we missed some chances. NorthEast played really well. We had to take it deep. Thanks to Alan Costa for winning us three points.
This year, we are very strong defensively. We got some really good characters in the defense, some really good leaders over there. That gives us a lot of confidence. Even in Durand Cup and now also, we worked really hard as a team to defend well. To have people like Sandesh, Alan, Alex, Gurpreet always helps.
On his favourite moment of the game - Of course Alan Costa’s goal. It was scrappy, It was not fluid. We could have done much better and I’m sure the coach will let us know. We work really hard on set pieces.
Hero of the match award goes to Alan Costa.
Bengaluru makes a winning start to the season with a 1-0 win over NorthEast United FC.
Two more minutes added but eventually the final whistle is blown. BFC wins 1-0
90+3’ GOAL RULED OFFSIDE
Four minutes of added time. Lots of rebounds before a stunning kick from Parthib strikes the bar and the follow-up attempt from NEUFC does not bring the equaliser.
Final minute of regulation time. Bengaluru closing on three points.
Foul by Imran on Udanta. Udanta takes the free kick from the left and sends it inside the box, Jhingan sees his effort go behind for another corner.
Last five minutes of regulation time. Philippoteaux drives the ball into the box from the right before looking for Derbyshire at the far post but the Englishman is unable to hit a shot.
Aaron Evans comes on for Emanuel for NEUFC.
Late tackle by Gani and he has been issued a yellow card.
Free kick for BFC after a foul by Jakobsen on Siva. Javier goes for an audacious long-range effort but ends up blazing it over the bar.
Chhetri with the link-up play with Udanta from the left inside the NEUFC box but the BFC skipper, with a tight angle available, sends the shot wide.
NEUFC loses possession on the edge of its own box, Udanta takes a shot which goes over the over.
Derbyshire with his first chance of the game after a lovely cross from the right from Philippoteaux but the Englishman’s header goes wide.
Long range shot from Pragyan and Gurpreet does fantastically well to block an effort aimed at the bottom right corner after it had taken a deflection off Costa on the way.
Double switch for NEUFC. Pragyan and Parthib Gogoi replace Irshad and Jithin. BFC replaces Jovanovic with Udanta.
A dangerous cross from the right from Prabir Das, Siva makes the run inside the box but is not able to reach to the ball in time and watches it roll away.
Stretcher has been brought to take Irshad off the field. He was suffering from cramps.
Philippoteaux with a quick run from the right wing, finds Gaztanaga in the middle who goes for a long ranger with his right foot and sees his shot cleared by Alan Costa.
An aerial pass from the BFC pass, Siva with the run gets past the NEUFC defender before going to the left. Siva, instead of taking the shot, cuts back to Chhetri in the center and the decision proves wrong as the BFC skipper fails to make proper contact.
Another short corner routine from NEUFC but it eventually results in an offside move. Meanwhile, BFC replaces Krishna and Suresh with Javier Hernandez and Jayesh Rane.
Free-kick for NEUFC, Philippoteaux takes it and sends it inside the BFC box before watching the ball being cleared by Jhingan for a corner.
The clock strikes the hour mark and the spectators still wait for the first goal of the night.
A swerving cross from the right from Prabir finds Krishna at the right near post but the ball strikes his leg and goes out for a goal kick.
Chhetri takes the free kick and sends it inside the box. Lots of bodies and Gaztanaga clears the ball away before a foul from a BFC player means NEUFC gets the free kick.
Gaurav Bora has been issued a yellow card.
Another impressive run from Roshan through the left flank before being fouled by Gani. Free kick for BFC.
Patient play from NEUFC. Looking to construct a move from the back.
Krishna from the midfield finds Roshan on the left flank who manages to get past Irshad but eventually, the BFC player is unable to control the ball while making the run inside the NEUFC box and it rolls out for a goal-kick.
Aerial pass from the BFC half looking for Roshan on the left flank but Irshad blocks him expertly and lets the ball roll out for an NEUFC throw-in.
Second half is underway! Early corner for BFC.
No goals at half-time from either side.
Long pass from the BFC half, Bora slips and that allows Krishna to control the ball on the right inside the NEUFC box before passing it across to Siva who links up with Chhetri before taking a shot, that is deflected behind by Arindam for a corner. Nothing comes from the corner and it remains goalless at half-time.
Prabir Das up through the right flank before being tackled by a NEUFC player. Gurjinder faces pressure from Siva inside his own box and a nervous clearance finds a blue shirt. No harm done.
Two minutes added to the first half. Can any side make a difference in this period?
Irshad with a throw-in inside the NEUFC half, quick counter attack and Jithin is through on the left flank. He tries to enter the BFC box through the middle and loses the ball in the process.
Short corner from Philippoteaux. Quick one-two with Jithin before the Indian takes a wild shot and sends the effort wide.
BFC looks to construct a move from inside its own half but a sloppy pass by Roy Krishna is intercepted. NEUFC counters and earns a corner.
First substitution of the match comes from NEUFC as Gani Nigam replaces Emil Benny.
Nice interception in defense by Sunil Chhetri. The skipper leading from the front. A swift counter-attack sees Suresh run through the midfied before passing it to Siva who tries to go past a couple of NEUFC defenders before eventually losing possession.
Much better from Bengaluru which has started to play more quicker and forward.
Sunil Chhetri with a long range effort but the ball goes flying over the bar. It’s still goalless after half hour.
NEUFC pressing hard. Bengaluru is struggling to get the ball out of its own half.
Corner for NEUFC. Philippoteaux sends in a poor one but an equally poor clearance at the near post by a BFC player allows him to get the ball back and make a run inside the box. Philippoteaux goes down and appeals for a penalty but it is in vain.
Siva’s attempt to divert a pass goalward finds him offside, but the ref directs the linesman to put his flag down with the ball safe in Arindam’s hands. Arindam rolls the ball down the turf, and Siva’s put it in the back of the net, but now it’s offside. Some confusion here but at the end, it is not a goal.
Bruno puts in a cross from the right and finds Sunil Chhetri in front of Arindam’s right post but the BFC skipper sends the header comfortably above the bar.
NEUFC has had a nice little positive spell here making inroads into the BFC box. The men in blue need to regain composure.
Error in defence from Prabir Das lets Jithin go through from the left. The NEUFC player finds himself in a one-on-one situation against Gurpreet but Prabir comes back just in time to put the pressure on Jithin. A right foot attempt from Jithin goes wide of the near post.
Dangerous tackle from Prabir Das on Emanuel on the edge of the NEUFC box. No booking though.
Lung-bursting run from the left from Roshan before a brilliant cut-back for Shiva who sends the tap-in wide of the far post. What an opportunity!
NEUFC with a little build-up in the midfield. However, the cross sent towards the BFC is cleared by Jhingan.
Prabir Das sends the throw-in inside the box and eventually earns another corner as NEUFC is forced to clear the ball at the near post. However, nothing fruitful comes from the corner for the men in blue.
Jakobsen brings down Siva close to the NEUFC box. Free kick for the host. Chhetri takes it but it is cleared by the white wall of the NEUFC defenders and the ball goes out for a throw-in.
Corner for BFC. Roshan sends a curler, Bruno rises at the near post but fails to make the connection with his head and the ball rolls out for goal kick.
First shot on target is a long ranger from Bruno Silva. The ball dips just before reaching Arindam which forces the fumble from the NEUFC goalie but no harm done.
Siva makes a run on the right flank before passing the ball back to Roy Krishna who takes a shot but misses the far post by quite a distance.
Prabir Das receives the ball inside his own half and facing high pressing from a NEUFC player, passes it back to goalkeeper Gurpreet.
KICK-OFF!!! An ISL match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium finally is up and running. First free kick inside 20 seconds for NEUFC at Wangjam fouls Benny.
7:30PM: HERE WE GO. It’s game time!
7:25PM: The two teams are out on the pitch and it is time for the national anthem.
7:15PM: Just 15 minutes to go before ISL football officially makes its return at the iconic Sree Kanteerava Stadium after two seasons.
Bengaluru FC (3-4-3): Gurpreet Sandhu (GK), Aleksandar Jovanovic, Sandesh Jhingan, Alan Costa, Prabir Das, Roshan Naorem, Suresh Wangjam, Bruno Silva, Roy Krishna, Sunil Chhetri, Siva Narayanan
NorthEast United FC (4-3-3): Arindam Bhattacharja (GK), Gaurav Bora, Michael Jakobsen, Gurjinder Kumar, Mohamed Irshad, Romain Philippoteaux, Jon Gaztanaga, Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Emil Benny, Matt Derbyshire, Jithin M.S.
6:50PM: Form Guide:
Bengaluru FC coming into the 2022-23 ISL season on a high after clinching its first-ever Durand Cup title with a 2-1 win over Mumbai City FC in the final.
On the other hand, NorthEast United could not get past the group stage in the Durand Cup. With defeats and just one win, NEUFC finished fourth out of five teams in Group D of Durand Cup.
In the Indian Super League, Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United FC have faced each other 12 times. The Blues have won six games while the Highlanders have won two. Four fixtures have finished in a draw.
6:30PM: MATCH PREVIEW (by N. Sudarshan)
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many a memory and altered many a life. But Sunil Chhetri swears that he remembers every little detail from his footballing life from before, like “coming to the stadium, doing our warm up, seeing the fans and memorising all the chants”.
On Saturday, he will relive everything when Bengaluru FC returns to its traditional home, the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, after two stifling seasons in a bio-bubble, for its ISL (Indian Super League) season opener against NorthEast United FC.
“It’s like normal football again and supporters will be like big caged animals,” said head coach Simon Grayson.
“Now, they are going to be released into the open to create the atmosphere, the noise and the enthusiasm. I am sure they cannot wait, and the players too.”
After two disappointing campaigns, the buzz around the club appears to be back. The signings of star forward Roy Krishna and creative midfielder Javi Hernandez, the emergence of youngster N. Sivasakthi, and the Durand Cup win, ending a three-year barren run, have excited the supporters.
“Durand Cup will give us a lot of confidence,” said Grayson. “We had not won anything for two or three years now and winning matches brings confidence. There is a fine line there, with being over confident. But we are not having any complacency. There is not a player in my team who is thinking ‘NorthEast on Saturday is going to be a walk in the park’.”
The additions of Prabir Das, who formed a good on-field understanding with Krishna while at ATK Mohun Bagan, and defender Sandesh Jhingan indicate that BFC is desperate to contend for a title that it last won in 2018-19.
“I am just trying to make sure that I get into the first XI,” said a dead-serious Chhetri.
“That’s the level of competition. The youngsters are pushing us and a lot of seniors are insecure of their places. That’s one of the best teams to be at. Everyone is working very hard to be in the 18 first and then the 11. I am one of them.”
NorthEast, on the other hand, is a bit of an unknown quantity, with much of the team new. The well-loved Federico Gallego and the solid V.P. Suhair are no longer at the club which finished second from bottom last season. But coach Marco Balbul promised to “try and win the game”.
“We know that it is a tough game against BFC who have a good balance - in defence, and in attack,” Balbul said. “However, we have also come prepared; we have built a new, young team with experienced foreigners. The players have shown good motivation, and good preparation, and we will give our best.”
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