Heart-break for Bengaluru FC

Heart-break for Bengaluru FC

There was widespread heart-break as Bengaluru FC saw their 10-match unbeaten run end and with it the Indian Super League title handed to Chennaiyin FC who prevailed 3-2.

There was high anticipation for the marquee finale as 25,753 football enthusiasts packed into the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday night.

Sunil Chhetri's opener (6th minute) and Miku's stoppage time strike (90+3) did raise hopes but Brazilian Mailson Alves' brace (17th  and 46th) and a beautifully curled effort from Alves' countryman Raphael Augusto (67th) powered Chennaiyin to their second ISL title after their 2015 triumph.

The players made their way out to an absolutely deafening atmosphere and it was an electric start with both sides stitching together neat passes and pressing forward with intent.

It was the home side that made the first impact nine minutes in and it had to be their skipper Chhetri who was the man to deliver on the big stage.

Miku held up play well in midfield and played a fantastic through ball for Udanta Singh. The Manipuri darted past his marker and sent a delightful ball for Chhetri, who headed in on the bounce to spark off scenes of absolute elation.

But the excitement was short lived as Alves, the man responsible for the wild celebrations the last time Chennaiyin won here, restored parity with a powerful header in the 17th  minute.

Using his team-mate Inigo Calderon to propel himself higher, Alves saw his header nick the inside of the post and bulge the net.

Dimas Delgado came close in the 30th  minute but his rasping shot from the edge of the box was brilliantly cleared off the line by Calderon.

Alves was at it again just before the half time whistle. Defending with ten men after Dimas hobbled off with an injury, BFC found themselves with a deficit to overcome as Alves used his head to great effect again, this time to Bengaluru custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu's right.

The Blues would have felt hard done at the break since they were the better side through a large chunk of the first period. But it was Chennaiyin that utilised their chances better.

It was Bengaluru on the front foot at the resumption but Chennai's defensive set-up remained sturdy.

Augusto dealt Albert Roca's side the killer blow in the 67th  minute with a smooth finish past a diving Gurpreet.

Jeje Lalpekhlua beat the offside trap but his first touch took him wide. The striker composed himself and laid it off as Augusto placed his shot into the bottom right corner.

Bengaluru refused to lie low and pushed hard but with no luck.

Fans were on the edge of their seats in the 85th  minute when Chhetri was presented with a fabulous opportunity. Miku did well on the touchline and pulled back for his captain, who was making a run into the box. Stunningly, Chhetri blasted over from eight yards out, a manner most unlike him.

That pretty much summed up the evening for Bengaluru, who despite Miku's late header, couldn't conjure enough to cross the line.

Chennayin may be the champions but Bengaluru can hold their heads high and be proud of a riveting debut campaign.


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