Chhetri the saviour for BFC

Last Updated 26 January 2018, 17:55 IST

There may have been a slight blip when a floodlight tower blacked-out and interrupted proceedings, but there were no such hiccups for Bengaluru FC as they downed NorthEast United FC 2-1 in an ISL game here.

The crowd once again didn't fail to disappoint as 15,000-odd fans packed into the Sree Kanteerava Stadium and were treated to some entertaining football on Friday.

Juanan (14th minute) broke the deadlock before Marcinho's (45+2) penalty brought NorthEast back into the contest. But BFC weren't to be denied a win as skipper Sunil Chhetri, like he has done on numerous occasions, scored the all-important winner in the 50th minute.

The victory propelled BFC back to the top of the standings with 24 points from 12 games, while NorthEast languish in ninth having collected 10 points from 11 outings.

There wasn't too much of difference between the sides with NorthEast attacking from the left through Danilo Lopez and, unsurprisingly, he manufactured the first clear cut chance of the game in the 13th minute.

After beating Harmanjot Khabra, the Brazilian made a run into the area and cut back for Seiminlen Doungel. But the former BFC forward couldn't get a clean connection and wasted the opportunity.

NorthEast were made to rue the miss immediately as Juanan rose highest and headed Edu Garcia's free-kick past a stationary NorthEast custodian TP Rehenesh.

In the 23rd minute, the south-west light tower at the stadium abruptly turned off due to technical issues and the players faced a five-minute break on the sidelines.

Once proceedings resumed, Avram Grant's side showed plenty of pluck and levelled in the second minute of first-half added time.

As has been the case this ISL, BFC didn't have the rub of the green in terms of refereeing decisions as Subhasish Bose was penalised for an unintentional hand-ball in the box. The left-back attempted a diving challenge on Doungel and his trailing arm struck the ball. Marcelino hammered home the resulting penalty much to the delight of the vocal away contingent.

The home side came out with intent in the second period and reaped the benefits five minutes in.

Sambinha failed to deal with Khabra's cross from the right flank as Chhetri capitalised and sneaked in an audacious effort from the tightest of angles.

However, the Highlanders refused to lie low and committed numbers in attack but Juanan and John Johnson were having none of it as the Blues held on for a well-deserved victory and three points that further boosted their chances of making it to the semifinals.

(Published 26 January 2018, 17:40 IST)

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