ISL: Bengaluru FC sink listless Blasters

Miku scores a brace while Chhetri gets one as Roca men win 3-1

ISL: Bengaluru FC sink listless Blasters

While a moment of calm from Sunil Chhetri put his side  in the driving seat, a late double from top-scorer Miku settled the dust on a much-frenzied fixture as Bengaluru FC beat Kerala Blasters 3-1 to leave Kochi with three points and a move up to third on the table at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday.

While Chhetri stepped up in the 60th  minute to slot a penalty past Subhasish Roy Chowdhury in a game that belonged to Bengaluru all evening, Miku (90+3', 90+5') struck twice in the injury time before Courage Pekuson (90+6') scored a consolation goal for the  Blasters.

Returning to action after a ten-day break, the Bengaluru  back four was led by Juan Gonzalez, in the absence of John Johnson, while Udanta passed a late fitness test on his ankle to start on the right. Blasters  meanwhile had big names missing in former Bengaluru man  CK Vineeth and Rino Anto -  both of who sat out with injuries. Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov who was eyeing a return from injury for this fixture, failed to make the squad.

While the game began with frenetic pace, Bengaluru could have shot into an early lead as early as the fourth minute. But Miku's header from an Edu Garcia free-kick was directed straight at Roy Chowdhury who wasn't leaving the ball for any Bengaluru seconds.

Nonetheless, in a first half that belonged squarely to Bengaluru, Garcia, Chhetri and Erik Paartalu all came close to scoring on multiple occasions, but every attempt was frustratingly hit straight at Chowdhury. The two times Bengaluru did find the back of the net, the assistant referee raised his flag for an off-side decision once, and then for Dimas Delgado's corner swinging out of play before Chowdhury nodded it in.

Bengaluru's struggle with precision in front of goal carried on to the start of the second half when Chhetri, with only Chowdhury to beat from a Harmanjot Khabra cross, nodded in front of the 'keeper who collected it on the bounce.

But Bengaluru's  persistence finally came good when they were awarded a penalty on the hour mark when Chhetri's cross caught Sandesh Jhingan's hand in the box, prompting referee R Venkatesh to point to the spot. Chhetri, as calm as ever, stepped up and fired low beyond Chowdhury to sink the home support into silence.

Bengaluru kept complete control of the game for the next half hour, keeping all Blasters  attackers at bay. With the fixture looking set for a 1-0 finish, it suddenly burst into life in injury time after Miku netted a quick-fire double to silence the majority of the 37,986 crowd and send the travelling Bengaluru fans  into raptures.

The Venezuelan first made it 2-0 in the 93rd  minute when he held off Lalruatthara's challenge to finish off Garcia's long ball on a counter attack. Two minutes later, he tapped home from inside the box after Subhasish Bose dribbled past Jhingan on the left and squared it for the Venezuelan.  

Leading 3-0, a slight defensive lapse allowed the hosts to pull one back as Pekuson scored from close range in the last minute of play, but it was only to be a consolation.

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