Sports Football 18 Jan 2018 ISL 2017-18: Sunil C ...

ISL 2017-18: Sunil Chhetri haunts former club Mumbai as Bengaluru climb to top spot

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | NICOLAI NAYAK
Published Jan 18, 2018, 11:11 pm IST
Updated Jan 19, 2018, 12:53 am IST
Chhetri and co made sure they kept their perfect away winning run intact as Mumbai slumped to another home loss.
Sunil Chhetri and Miku were on the scoresheet for the Blues. (Photo: ISL Media)
 Sunil Chhetri and Miku were on the scoresheet for the Blues. (Photo: ISL Media)

Mumbai: Bengaluru FC climbed to the top spot in the 2017-18 Indian Super League (ISL) table with a 3-1 thumping victory over Mumbai City FC at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on Thursday.

Sunil Chhetri and Miku were on the scoresheet for the Blues while Leo Costa grabbed a consolation goal for Mumbai.

 

The visitors saw much of the ball early on with play being directed through Udanta Singh and Boithang Haokip on the channels, but Mumbai’s stingy defense ensured they weren’t given a sniff of opportunities.

Mumbai were presented with a glaring opportunity in the 25th minute when Thiago Santos ran through the opposition defence but hurried with his shot, which was eventually blocked. It fell into the path of Achille Emana who parried it away over the bar on the follow through.

The Islanders were forced to make their first substitution in the 30th minute with Davinder Singh coming on for the injured Raju Gaikwad.

Mumbai City custodian Amrinder Singh pulled a string of fine saves to keep his side alive in the game as the ISL debutants kept sneaking for chances.

Balwant Singh was the first one to go into the referee’s book after the striker struck an elbow on Harmanjot Khabra’s chin, as the duo vied for the ball.

Just before the stroke of half time, Bengaluru FC were rewarded for their attacking exploits with a penalty after Sunil Chhetri was brought down by Balwant Singh in the 18-yard box. The Bengaluru talisman calmly slotted the ball under the roof of the net to give his side the lead.

Albert Roca's side were close to making it 2-0 in the 50th minute after Hoakip found Miku with a neat through pass bisecting the defence. One-on-one with the keeper, the Venenzulean scruffed his shot inches wide as he aimed for an audacious chip.

Chhetri soon doubled the lead against his former employers few minutes later to silence the home fans. Udanta Singh beat marker Davinder Singh on the right with a lung-busting run before drilling a perfect pass to Chhetri in the box, who tucked it into the top right corner.

The hosts once again found themselves in danger as Gerson Vieira committed a rash foul on Miku just outside the 30-year-box. The former Getafe FC striker baffled the Mumbai wall, firing a low shot into the bottom left corner to make it 3-0.

Alexandre Guimaraes brought in fresh legs in the form of Brazilian duo Leo Costa and Marcio Rozario but they could not inflict much damage as Bengaluru were quick to retain the ball in crucial areas.

With 15 minutes to go, Leo Costa restored hope for the Islanders slotting past an onrushing Gurpreet Singh Sandhu after Balwant Singh found the Brazilian free on the right flank.

Roca also enforced three changes bringing in the young trio of Alwyn George, Lenny Rodrigues and Daniel Lalhlimpuia.

However, in the end, Chhetri and co made sure they kept their perfect away winning run intact as Mumbai slumped to another home loss.

The two-time I-League winners now gear up to face Transport United in the Preliminary stages of the AFC Cup on Tuesday.

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