ISL: Nishu Kumar takes Bengaluru past Hyderabad

Nishu sent BFC ahead as early as the seventh minute, beating custodian Laxmikanth Kattimani with a right-footed drive from the edge of the penalty box.

Nishu Kumar celebrates scoring for Bengaluru FC.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Nishu Kumar’s thunderous long-ranger and Gurpreet Sandhu’s heroics in goal earned Bengaluru FC (BFC) a nervy 1-0 win over Hyderabad FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday.

Nishu sent BFC ahead as early as the seventh minute, beating custodian Laxmikanth Kattimani with a right-footed drive from the edge of the penalty box off a corner from Dimas Delgado. But it was Gurpreet who ensured that BFC hung on to the lead that sent the reigning ISL champion second in the table with 28 points, two shy of FC Goa and one better than ATK. First, he saved a penalty near the half-hour mark from Marko Stankovic before parrying away a shot from 10 yards out from Liston Colaco in the 90th minute.

As it happened| Nishu Kumar thunderbolt takes Bengaluru past Hyderabad - Highlights

Earlier, after Nishu had opened the scoring following yet another neatly-worked set-piece routine, Hyderabad was handed the lifeline when the referee adjudged Suresh Wangjam to have impeded Marcelinho from latching on to a through ball from Nikhil Poojary. The linesman initially appeared to disagree with his superior but the referee stuck to his decision following a brief discussion.

Stankovic, though, made a mess of the chance, sending a weak low shot that Gurpreet saved by diving to his right. The ball then fell to Brazilian Bobo whose strike aimed at the top corner was turned away by Gurpreet for a corner. The resultant tension between the two sides simmered for the rest of the half as the game witnessed a series of verbal duels.

The home side managed to shrug it all off and returned for the second half looking sharp. Striker Deshorn Brown, on any other day, could have easily scored three and substitute Ashique Kuruniyan sent a chip over the onrushing goalie agonisingly wide. New signing Nili Perdomo even hit the post from close range late on and it was sheer luck that BFC didn’t pay for its rank profligacy.

The result: Bengaluru FC 1 (Nishu 7) bt Hyderabad FC 0.

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