ISL 2017: Bengaluru FC go down fighting against Chennaiyin FC

[caption id="attachment_60112" align="aligncenter" width="580"] Dhanpal Ganesh of CFC celebrates the goal against BFC today. Image Source: ISL[/caption]

Internet Desk: Bengaluru FC put on a spirited show but were undone in the final moments of the game, as they suffered a 1-2 loss to Chennaiyin FC, their first at the Fortress this season. After skipper Sunil Chhetri had pulled the Blues level in the final ten minutes, a late goal from midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh handed the visitors all three points at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday.

Back at home after three consecutive games on the road, Albert Roca made six changes to the starting line-up, handing starts to Antonio Dovale, Edu Garcia, Lenny Rodrigues, John Johnson, Nishu Kumar and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

It took more than just a touch of misfortune for Bengaluru when they fell behind in the 5th minute. Lenny Rodrigues’ attempted clearance in the Blues box came off the chest of Chhetri and fell kindly for Jeje Lalpekhlua who smashed home from close. Gurpreet Singh, making a return to the squad, managed to get a hand to the ball but the hit had too much power and found its way in.

Fortune would rob Bengaluru again, this time on the other end of the pitch. Setting off on a run after making a steal in the midfield, Edu Garcia saw his low strike in the 18th minute roll beyond Karanjit Singh only to come off the post and be dealt with by Chennaiyin.

Bengaluru looked to claw their way back into the half but a stubborn Chennaiyin defence – one that Roca had spoken about in his pre-game press conference – refused to give Miku, Chhetri and Garcia anything beyond a half chance.

Roca started the second half with a change, bringing on Udanta, who wasn’t fully fit to start, for Rodrigues. And the change was almost responsible for an equaliser as soon as the half kicked off. A blistering run down the right mixed with a bit of skill saw Udanta pick Miku, who squared it for Chhetri. But the captain disappointed with a weak shot that was saved.

With a quarter of an hour to play, Roca made his two available changes, throwing in Braulio Nobrega and Subhasish Bose for John Johnson and Nishu Kumar as the Blues kept pressing for a way back into the game.

After persistent pressure, the Blues finally pulled level in the 82nd minute. A counter attack from the left saw the ball end up with Dovale just outside the Chennaiyin box. The Spaniard floated in a perfect lob to Chhetri standing free on the left and the skipper unleashed an unstoppable half-volley past a hapless Karanjit in the Chennaiyin goal.

As the Blues pushed on in search of the winner, Chhetri skipped away from his marker and went on a solo run but was brought down just outside the box by Inigo Calderon. With the referee waving play on, Chennaiyin earned a free-kick from the resulting attack at the other end and against the run of play. Substitute Rene Mihelic’s cross in from the left found Ganesh at the far post, who headed home to give the visitors the lead once again, in the 88th minute.

With five minutes added on, Bengaluru almost pulled level in the first of those five. Dovale’s cross from the right found Bheke, whose powerful header on target was tipped over by Karanjit as the game ended 1-2.

The Blues stay at home, and will now host Jamshedpur FC on Thursday, 21st December at the same venue.

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