ISL: Miku, Chhetri drub Kerala 3-1

The victory for Bengaluru, which propelled it No.3 in the points table, came after two bitter losses at home.

BFC captain Sunil Chhetri opened the scoring for the visitor with a spot kick.   -  ISL

As the match moved into injury time with the host Kerala Blasters down by a goal, Iain Hume turned to the crowd and signalled it to get noisier. The 38,000 spectators at the Nehru Stadium here, all in yellow, obliged him with a roar.

But it was Bengaluru FC, which looked inspired during final five minutes, pumping in two more goals as the visitor won the Indian Super League battle of the Southern sides 3-1 here on Sunday evening.

As the action unfolded

The victory for Bengaluru, which propelled it No.3 in the points table, came after two bitter losses at home.

Chhetri draws first blood

Captain Sunil Chhetri gave Bengaluru the lead with a penalty in the 60th minute while Venezuelan Miku scored two more in the space of three minutes in injury time. Courage Pekuson netted the Blasters’ consolation goal just before the final whistle.

The match was played at a lively pace and gained momentum toward the half-hour mark but none expected the shocking finish when Miku caught the defence napping with his stunning strikes, the first of which came after a sudden sprint on the left.

Defender Lalruatthara, who had impressed in previous games, tried to pull Miku in desperation, but the 32-year-old kept his cool and slotted the ball past goalkeeper Paul Rachubka, who had come in nearly 20 minutes earlier replacing Subhasish Chowdhury.

Blasters left high and dry

A couple of minutes later, Miku was at it again, making the most of a Subhasish Bose cross from the left.

Bengaluru’s opening goal came in dramatic fashion. The India captain, whose header was pushed away by the diving Subhasish a few minutes earlier, made a fine run on the left and sent a cross to Eduardo Garcia but on the way, the ball brushed Sandesh Jhingan’s hand and the referee, who had spotted it, awarded Bengaluru a penalty. Chhetri placed his shot neatly near the right corner.

The Blasters, strangely, did not field its star C.K. Vineeth – a former Bengaluru player in the I-League – for this game. And in one of the best moments for the home side today, a nice combination play between Jackichand and Lalruattara on the two flanks, and Courage Pekuson in the middle, promised a goal.

The crosses from the right and left clearly foxed the Bengaluru defence but in the end, nothing came of it.

At the other end, Bengaluru captain Sunil Chhetri was in the thick of things, his sprints down the middle keeping the home defence on its toes. One such run produced a powerful shot from the Indian captain but Subhasish Roy, who had an impressive day, pushed it away.

The result: Bengaluru FC 3 (Sunil Chhetri 60 penalty, Miku 90+1, 90+3) bt Kerala Blasters 1 (Courage Pekuson 90+4).

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