I-League: Bengaluru FC rout East Bengal 3-0
The defending champions remain in the title hunt
Bengaluru FC drubbed East Bengal 3-0 to remain in the I-League title hunt. Sean Rooney scored the opening goal in the 31st minute. Captain Sunil Chhetri increased the lead in the 60th minute and Robin Singh scored the third late in the game. The win takes Bengaluru FC right behind league leaders Mohun Bagan, who are ahead by just 1 point. On the other hand, East Bengal are practically out of the title race.
East Bengal maintained possession from the very first minute of the game and did not allow Bengaluru any space in the middle of the pitch. The game began in an exciting manner as both the teams played end to end attractive football.
On very few occasions, the goalkeepers were tested as the game was played mainly in midfield. Twice, East Bengal got chances to test Ralte, but the Bengaluru custodian did a commendable job to stop both the opportunities.
Bengaluru FC finally opened their account against East Bengal in the 31st minute. Eugeneson Lyngdoh floated a corner, which was unconvincingly cleared by Abhijeet Mondal, and the ball fell into Rooney’s foot, who lashed a powerful shot that smashed into the top corner. The finger could be pointed at Abhijeet Mondal for the goal as he anticipated the incoming pass incorrectly.
CK Vineeth, then, attempted a shot in the 39th minute, but it just went wide. The teams went into half-time with East Bengal having more of the ball, but the home side having the crucial lead.
The visiting side went all guns blazing in the second half. Cavin Lobo replaced Dhanarajan, which increased the flair in East Bengal’s attacks. A resolute defending by the duo of John Johnson and Curtis Osano denied East Bengal genuine goal scoring chances.
Somewhat against the run of play, Bengaluru FC won a free-kick just outside East Bengal’s penalty box at the stroke of the hour mark. Set-piece specialist Eugeneson Lyngdoh curled a free-kick inside East Bengal’s penalty box, which reached the head of Sunil Chhetri. The Bengaluru captain converted the header with expertise and the ball made a bulge in the net.
East Bengal looked positive and continued to attack in numbers after conceding the second goal. Baldeep Singh Jr. was introduced which made it a three-man attack upfront.
In two occasions, East Bengal could have scored if luck was on their favour. Baldeep missed an easy header from Ranti’s cross, and on Ralte saved a close-range header from Dudu Omagbemi.
In the 88th minute, Bengaluru FC went on a counter-attack. Sunil Chhetri played a brilliant pass towards Robin Singh, who had just the goalkeeper in front. The Indian international kept his cool and calmly scored the third and the final goal of the match
Bengaluru FC finally broke their jinx against East Bengal in a convincing manner.