Chhetri’s penalty strike gives Bengaluru FC first win in ISL

BAMBOLIM, Dec 4: Bengaluru FC registered their first win of the season, notching up a 1-0 victory over Chennaiyin FC in an Indian Super League match here on Friday.
A 56th-minute penalty strike from Sunil Chhetri was the difference between the two teams as Chennaiyin suffered their first loss of the season.
Chennaiyin made just one change to the eleven that drew with Kerala Blasters as Jerry Lalrinzuala replaced Chhuantea. Bengaluru coach Carles Cuadrat made three changes — Kristian Opseth, Udanta Singh and Fran Gonzalez were replaced by Deshorn Brown, Dimas Delgado and Rahul Bheke.
The match was off to a physical start with Anirudh Thapa left limping in the fifth minute after a clash of heels with Ashique Kuruniyan, who picked up a yellow card two minutes later for a rough tackle on Deepak Tangri.
Then came a big blow for Chennaiyin. Thapa had initially continued after his clash with Kuruniyan, but by the 16th minute, he went off the pitch with Chennaiyin coach Csaba Laszlo replacing him with Edwin Vanspaul.
Bengaluru began to take the upper-hand after Thapa’s exit. Around the half-hour mark, Cleiton Silva found Bheke unmarked inside the box, but his header was off target.
Seven minutes later, Juanan had a chance to head in from Silva’s cross, but only managed to divert it into Chennaiyin keeper Vishal Kaith’s hands.
The second period started with a flurry of fouls, free-kicks and yellow cards. Rafael Crivellaro, Suresh Wangjam and Reagan Singh went into the book early on while both the teams wasted free-kicks from good positions.
However, in the 54th minute, Chennaiyin committed one foul too many. Vanspaul lunged into Silva inside the box and the referee pointed to the dreaded spot. Kaith guessed correctly dived to his right, but Chhetri’s penalty was inch-perfect.
Bengaluru nearly had their second in the 60th minute when a powerful long-ranger from Delgado looked to be going in. Kaith, however, got the slightest of touches to it, diverting the ball from its path.
Laszlo responded to the goal by throwing on Fatkhullo Fatkhulloev and the Tajik nearly scored the equaliser, unleashing a volley off Jerry’s cross only for Bengaluru keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to block it.
Chennaiyin thought they had a penalty in the 69th minute after Crivellaro’s header struck Kuruniyan’s hand on the way out. But referee Rahul Kumar Gupta instead pointed to a corner.
Chennaiyin dominated the final period, searching frantically for an equaliser. But they were unable to find a finish to the many chances they created as Bengaluru held on for the win. (PTI)