Chhetri shows BFC way to the top

Sunil Chhetri bagged a brace, with Miku adding a third after the hour mark to secure an easy win for the visiting team.

Sunil Chhetri dispatched a penalty before half-time and gave Bengaluru a two-goal cushion minutes after the restart.   -  ISL

Sunil Chhetri returned to familiar turf at Mumbai Football Arena, wearing a different jersey but reputation and fom like last season which made him the darling of Mumbai City FC fans. This time in a number 11 white outfit for Bengaluru FC, he proved to be a tricky customer for former teammates, scoring twice in a display of goal-poaching skills and decision-making ability in the goalmouth.

As it happened

MCFC’s over-worked defence lost form and resilience in the face of constant attacks. Venezuelan striker Miku, not wanting to be left behind in the race to score for visitors, converted a direct-free-kick to seal 3-1 victory for BFC and lifted the ISL debutant to pole position in the 10-team league table. Leo Costa reduced the margin for the hosts, a brave effort to turn the tide after his team were drowned by waves of raids.

Chhetri’s goals came via a power-packed penalty kick and bettered his effort with a stylish right-footed placement low to the corner. Amrinder Singh in goal, teammates on the national squad, had no chance to get close to the a mighty drive from the spot, nor the time to switch angle from post to post when the livewire India captain finished off at first touch.

MCFC defence came off second best when Miku hammered in the third off a direct free-kick, a right-footed finish to the near corner. Leo Costa’s strike for the home team came too late to light up the home team fightback. BFC attacking troika of Chhetri, Miku and Udanta Singh, the last-named showing passing and positioning of a high calibre.

Amrinder and Gurpreet Singh, guarding the goal for MCFC and BFC respectively at either ends, were kept on toes from start. Miku and Erik Paartalu tested the former and Balwant Singh miskicked in an attempted to float the ball which sailed over. The noisy stadium atmosphere demanded more goalmouth amidst drumbeats and blaring trumpets.

Chhetri’s presence was felt in the 25th minute, moving into position for a relay by Udanta following a run down the right. The captain decided to connect first-time, only to find the home team custodian in place to collect. The latter dived to his left and deflected away a shot on the turn by Boithang Haokip. A stunning save foiling a super shot.

The excitement levels in the stands soared when a penalty-kick was awarded to BFC. Three defendeers charging in towards Chhetri set off a chain reaction. He was felled and took the shot himself, beating Amrinder with a blast high into the corner. He netted again in the second half, finishing off a move by Udanta’s daring run and tap back to captain. MCFC remain in fifth place after 11 matches.

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