Chhetri double strike takes Bengaluru FC to semifinals

Chhetri double strike takes Bengaluru FC to semifinals

Chhetri double strike takes Bengaluru FC to semifinals

Sunil Chhetri struck twice as Bengaluru FC beat Pune FC 2-1 in a Group B match to book a semi-final berth in the Hero Federation Cup football tournament here today.

Chhetri scored in the 43rd and added time of the first session (45+3) as Bengaluru FC controlled the proceedings throughout the match at Tilak Stadium.

Pune FC went all out in the last quarter of the match and reduced the margin in the 87th minute through Thongkhosiem Haokip.

Bengaluru FC finished on top of the group with 10 points to become the first team to make it to the semi-finals.

The second team for a semifinal spot from this group will be decided on January 7 when Salgaocar take on Pune FC. Salgaocar (six points) are ahead of Pune FC by two points. The Goan side need a draw to make it to the semi-finals while Pune FC need a win.

Both the teams played a compact game and it was Chhetri who made all the difference in the dying minutes of the first half, scoring a couple of goals that sealed the match in Bengaluru FC's favour.

Bengaluru FC broke the deadlock from a set piece move. Following a corner kick on the right, Eugeneson Lyngdoh floated the ball into the box where keeper Arminder Singh managed to palm the ball away only to see Chhetri's superb back-volley finding the net in the 43rd minute.

Three minutes into the first half injury time, Bengaluru FC was awarded a penalty after Sean Rooney was brought down by keeper Arminder inside the box and referee C K Krishnan awarded the spot kick which Chhetri converted it by beating keeper to his left.

Pune FC, who made moves from the middle on counter attacks, came up with a couple of long distance shots from Zohmingliana Ralte and Thongkhosiem Haokip but could not trouble the rival keeper Ralte.

Chhetri could have scored his hat-trick after the change of ends but rival keeper rose to the occasion to collect his shot.

Pune FC made two quick changes and came close to scoring on a few occasions but Ratle did well to put out Thongkhosiem Haokip's well-directed shot until Haokip managed to score one in the 87th minute. He headed the ball in after keeper Ralte made a mess of an aerial ball.