An acrobatic overhead-kick in the injury-time by Chencho Gyeltshen saved the day for Bengaluru FC (BFC) which held host North East United FC (NEUFC) to a 1-1 draw in an ISL match here at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Wednesday. The Bhutanese striker came on as a 70th minute substitute and rescued Bengaluru which trailed by a goal till the second minute of the added time.
AS IT HAPPENED
The Uruguayan winger Federico Gallego took NEUFC ahead early in the second half off a nice coordinated move. The last gasp goal helped Bengaluru maintain an unbeaten run for the ninth straight game and its position on top of the standings with 23 points while the host remained in the second spot with 19 points from 10 matches.
The meeting of the two top sides did not see much of a contest in the opening session as the opponents focused on midfield oriented tactical game. A silly mistake by the NEUFC goalkeeper Pawan Kumar in the 11th minute could well have given the visitor the lead. The host custodian delayed his clearance on receiving a back-pass from defender Mislav Komorski. An alert Sunil Chhetri charged in to catch Pawan off-guard and got a touch on the ball but could not keep it on target.
The host had a chance in the next minute when Puitea released Redeem Tlang, who cut inside box from left, but the NEUFC midfielder could not beat the Bengaluru goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu, who put his body behind the former’s attempt. The resulting corner saw Gallego sending his corner deep inside the Bengaluru box for Bartholomew Ogbeche. The Nigerian forward fired a header but found the hands of Sandhu.
Ogbeche remained the main tormentor for the visitor, keeping the latter’s defence under severe pressure with his footwork and his sense of timing at arriving in the box.
Maintaining the persistent pressure, the host got its way through in the 64th minute when Puitea located Ogbeche on top of the BFC box and the latter set-up an unmarked Gallego inside the box with a nice lob. The Uruguayan wrong-footed his challenger Albert Serran and got the ball past Sandhu with a powerful drive.
Just when Bengaluru seemed to be heading towards its first defeat of the season came the acrobatic effort from Chencho, who volleyed home a header from Chhetri to restore parity.