ISL: Chhetri stunner helps BFC top table

The BFC captain's 40th-minute strike was enough to hand his side victory at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium and condemn Teddy Sheringham's ATK to a first defeat in four games.

Sunil Chhetri celebrates Bengaluru FC's win against ATK on Sunday.   -  K. Murali Kumar

A stunning long-range effort from Sunil Chhetri propelled Bengaluru FC to a 1-0 win over ATK and to the top of the ISL table here on Sunday. The BFC captain's 40th-minute strike was enough to hand his side victory at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium and condemn Teddy Sheringham's ATK to a first defeat in four games.

This was a lively affair, with BFC sharper in attack than it had been against Jamshedpur here last month. There was a pair of early corners, and Miku made more than one piercing run into the box, linking up well with Udanta Singh and Edu Garcia.

Match Centre

ATK was far from the dour, defensive unit BFC may have expected; Zequinha was a threat on the left-hand side, even if there was no reward for his efforts.

The Portuguese, who was replaced at half-time, swung in a few dangerous crosses. One such ball was glanced across the face of goal by Robin Singh; Rupert Nongrum's shot at the far post was blocked from close range. He ought to have done better.

At the other end, Erik Paartalu's header came off the upright before Rahul Bheke followed up with a shot that was cleared off the line. The opening goal arrived not long after. ATK's Conor Thomas gave the ball away in sloppy fashion, playing a square pass right into Sunil Chhetri's path.

CFC fluffs chance to go top

The BFC striker, who had started on the left but was moved to the middle, latched on to the ball, took a couple of steps forward, and found the net with a fierce drive from 25 yards out.

Teddy Sheringham made two changes at the interval, but ATK simply could not find a way through. Robbie Keane had an opportunity but his effort on the hour-mark was saved by Gurpeet Singh Sandhu, perhaps the first time the BFC goalkeeper had been truly tested all evening.

Albert Roca's men knew they sat on a fragile lead and strove non-stop to extend their advantage. Braulio Nobrega, Edu Garcia and Paartalu all came close and on another day might have found the target. Roca fretted on the touchline, but he need not have worried.

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