By I-League Media
KOLKATA: Bengaluru FC were 1-0 winners over East Bengal at the Barasat Stadium with Sunil Chhetri scoring the only goal at the hour mark.
The win allowed Ashley Westwood to break his away jinx against the Red and Golds as it was their very first victory in West Bengal, following up their 3-0 victory at the Kanteerava Stadium, last season.
Biswajit Bhattacharya started with Samad Ali Mallick and Narayan Das as the two full backs while the duo of Ranti Martins and Do Dong Hyun were employed in the attack.
The away side put in Amrinder Singh in goal, after Lalthuammawia Ralte not having a good outing against Mumbai FC. Seminlen Doungel partnered Sunil Chhetri in attack while Thoi Singh replaced CK Vineeth on the wing.
Bengaluru FC’s Kim Song was caught offside in the opening minutes with only Rehenesh to beat after John Johnson’s long ball had caught the entire East Bengal defense sleeping.
In the eighth minute, Mohammed Rafique’s cross almost found Ranti but Amrinder was in the right place to intercept the delivery.
Around the twenty minute mark, Mehtab’s ball into the box was met by Abranches but his shot took a deflection off Curtis Osano for a corner. The Bengaluru FC defense stood strong as they pulled off successive blocks after Mehtab’s corner spread terror in the opposition box with pinball ensuing.
The JSW owned side had their first real chance in five minutes from time when Seminlen Doungel cut in from the right and laid it off to Kim whose shot was narrowly wide.
Dong followed this up with volleying wide from close range after Narayan Das had delivered a perfect low cross for him.
Bengaluru had their first real chance after the restart in the 51st minute when Sankar Sampangiraj ran unmarked down on the right before sliding it towards an onrushing Sunil Chhetri. The Indian skipper shot it in his stride but alert goalkeeping from Rehenesh who made himself big saw it being deflected for a corner.
Dong’s free-kick on the hour mark was expertly saved by Amrinder who dived to his left and followed it up by saving Abranches’ shot on the rebound.
Chhetri had the last laugh as he opened the scoring a minute later after Rino Anto had made an overlapping run and found the former East Bengal player on the far post. Rahul Bheke who had just come into the match failed to keep up with his man, allowing Chhetri to beat Rehenesh at his near post.
East Bengal had a glorious chance in the 80th minute to equalise courtesy Bikash Jairu but the Sikkimese shot straight at the goalkeeper when he had the entire open goal staring at him. This was after Jairu himself had started the move from outside the box, playing it to Ranti on the right whose shot was palmed away towards Jairu by Amrinder.
Bengaluru defended in numbers and in spite of the East Bengal pressure, they failed to get past the Blues and retain their unbeatable home record.
The win saw East Bengal now trailing Bengaluru by four points with both teams having played the same number of matches.
Amrinder Singh, the debutant goalie of Bengaluru FC, was awarded ‘Hero of the Match’ for his exemplary performance on his debut for the Blues.