Bengaluru rally to edge ATK

KEY STRIKE Bengaluru FC’s Miku (centre) celebrates with team-mates after scoring his team’s equaliser against ATK.

Carles Cuadrat’s Bengaluru FC came from behind to claim a 2-1 win over two-time champions ATK, in an Indian Super League clash here on Wednesday. 

Komal Thatal’s opener on the quarter hour mark was cancelled out by Miku’s sumptuous strike in first half injury time before Aussie midfielder Erik Paartalu volleyed one home for the winner in the opening stages of the second period.

The win takes Cuadrat’s men to third place on the Indian Super League table, one point behind NorthEast United who have played a game more, and FC Goa, who have a superior goal difference.

The Blues next travel to Kerala, where a third away clash, against Kerala Blasters awaits them at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Kochi, next Monday.

The Blues would waste no time in dictating who would have more of the ball, moving it all over the pitch with relative ease. But football’s strange nature served a reminder in the 15th minute when ATK went ahead after Thatal slipped through Bengaluru’s high line of defence, latched on to a pass from Everton Santos and rolled the ball past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Bengaluru went back to stitching things together and almost found an answer in the 21st minute when Miku rose to head a cross from Nishu Kumar, only for Arindam Bhattacharya to save the effort from point-blank range.

What seemed liked finishing as a frustrating half for Bengaluru was rescued by a moment of brilliance from Miku. Brought down by Gerson Vieira on the edge of the box in added time, Miku had Dimas Delgado for company with the free kick. The midfielder halted a rolled ball from Miku, before the Venezuelan smashed his take into the top corner, leaving Bhattacharya no chance whatsoever. Cuadrat’s men didn’t have to wait too long for the second. A free-kick launched in the ATK box had defender Ricky Lallawmawma’s headed clearance fall only as far as Paartalu who connected with the sweetest of hits to make it 2-1 in the 47th minute. 

Bengaluru would stay stubborn at the back with Spanish defensive duo of Albert Serran and Juanan holding fort, while Gurpreet Singh Sandhu stood tall in the Bengaluru goal. Gerson Vieira had his attempt come off the upright on a corner kick in the 81st minute as the hosts pushed bodies up front. Gurpreet would also palm away a goal-bound strike from Everton Santos.

Having found a combination that’s been more just clicking, Cuadrat named an unchanged eleven from the side that cruised past Pune City a little over a week ago, with Dimas making his second start of the campaign alongside Harmanjot Khabra and Paartalu in midfield.

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Bengaluru rally to edge ATK

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