Bengaluru FC had the ideal start to their ISL campaign with a victory in the South Indian Derby against Chennaiyin FC. At the start of this game, both teams looked evenly matched on paper and picking out a winner looked difficult.
However, a brilliant strike from Venezuelan striker Miku was the goal that separated both these sides at the end of the 90 minutes. A tough fought battle ended with a positive result for the blues.
Both teams got off to a well-balanced start and the opening minutes saw some good chances created by both teams. It was in the in the closing minutes of the first half that a well-placed pass from Xisco Hernandez and a brilliant finish from Miku paved the way for a victory for the Bengaluru lads.
Yellow cards were shown on both ends of the field to Harmanjot Singh Khabra (Bengaluru FC) and Jerry Lalrinzuala (Chennaiyin FC) for some aggressive tackling. Jeje and his teammates tried their best to equalize in the second half but couldn't get close to the Bengaluru net protected by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
We take a look at the hits and flops from the second fixture of the Indian Super League held on Sunday.
#1 Hit: Miku (Bengaluru FC)
Venezuelan striker Miku was the hero of the match as Bengaluru FC brushed past Chennaiyin FC in a narrow 1-0 win. His 41st-minute strike was the game changer and he went on to claim the title of 'Man of the Match'.
John Gregory, the head coach of Chennaiyin was filled with praise for his number 7 shirt in the post-match press conference where he said that Miku's goal and performance was the difference between the two sides. Miku has definitely started off where he left last season. Fans are looking forward to many such goals from him.
#2 Flop: Jeje Lalpekhlua (Chennaiyin FC)
One of the biggest disappointments from the match was Indian striker Jeje Lalpekhlua. Often referred to as the 'Mizo Sniper' for his high power shots and shooting accuracy, Jeje failed to find the net against the Bengaluru FC defence.
His first chance on goal came in the 17th minute when a mouth-watering ball from Nelson was chipped off target by the Mizo striker. Jeje had a chance at redemption in the 32nd minute of the game but a poor first touch failed to save his case. The Indian striker will have to convert such opportunities into goals if he wishes to see his team in the playoffs.
#3 Hit: Xisco Hernandez (Bengaluru FC)
While many are praising Miku for his goal which was eventually the game changer, they are forgetting the brilliant effort put in by Spanish midfielder Xisco Hernandez who was in total control of the midfield last evening.
Xisco not only delivered the match-winning assist to Miku but kept playing some dangerous balls to Chettri and Udanta Singh who failed to convert them into goals. The Spanish forward was no match for the struggling Chennai defence. If only his passes would have been converted into goals we would have seen Bengaluru FC win with a bigger margin on the scoreboard.
#4 Flop: Mailson Alves
Miku's 41st-minute goal was somewhat controversial as many believed it was an offside decision which was ignored by the referee. However, on watching the video referrals it was quite evident that Chennai defender Mailson Alves failed to play the offside trap and played Miku onside. Mistakes like these at the big stage can cost you the game and these errors have to be avoided.
#5 Hit: Inigo Calderon (Chennaiyin FC)
Inigo Calderon must have been on the losing side yesterday but his performance was definitely noteworthy. Playing as right back for the Chennai outfit, Inigo Calderon managed to keep Sunil Chettri away from the Chennai net all throughout the game.
How can we forget that perfectly timed tackle on Sunil Chettri when the Indian National team captain was exposed to an open net with only the keeper to beat. His performance last night has surely earned him accolades from the Namma fans. Chennaiyin FC will be counting on him if they wish to maintain clean sheets in the upcoming games.