Bengaluru FC (BFC) managed to ride out the NorthEast United FC storm, and emerged a deserving 2-1 winner in their Indian Super League (ISL) outing at Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday.
AS IT HAPPENED
NorthEast came out firing in the second half, first pulling level at 1-1, and then threatening to hammer in a few more goals. BFC was in danger of sinking, but a combination of good luck and
perseverance saw the home side stay afloat. The gritty show helped BFC (30 points) jump to the top of the points table, three points clear of Mumbai City FC. NorthEast (23 points), meanwhile, stayed in third place.
NorthEast had two clear chances to take a 2-1 lead, but skipper Bartholomew Ogbeche and Panagiotis Triadis were guilty of poor finishing. In the 62nd minute, Ogbeche did brilliantly well to
outmuscle his marker Albert Serran and find a clear path to the goal. The Nigerian striker, however, could not find his way around BFC custodian Gurpreet Singh.
Gurpreet was called into action again a few minutes later, only this time, in a far more dangerous situation. Triadis broke the BFC defence and found himself in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper. Triadis had all the time and space to finish the job, but quite inexplicably, hurried a shot straight at Gurpreet. BFC would soon make NorthEast pay a heavy price for its twin blunders.
In the 71st minute, BFC substitute Chencho Gyeltshen found the net, much against the run of play. Juanan flicked his header across goal, giving an unmarked Gyeltshen a simple chance at point-blank range. The Bhutan striker slid in and smashed his second goal of the season. The home fans erupted, and a sense of relief prevailed in the BFC camp.
BFC had to survive one last anxious moment, when Juan Mascia’s attempt came perilously close. Gurpreet capped off a fantastic day at the office, when he stretched every sinew in his body to tip the shot wide.
Earlier, BFC took a 1-0 advantage through a free-kick that came straight from coach Carles Cuadrat’s playbook. NorthEast was left completely clueless, as men in blue jerseys ran circles around them. The move eventually forced a nervous Mislav Komorski to smash the ball into his own goal.
Federico Gallego made it 1-1 in the 60th minute, when he calmly slotted his shot through Gurpreet’s legs.
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