Bengaluru open with a draw

Bengaluru open with a draw

Bengaluru FC's Cleiton Silva (second from right) celebrates with team-mates after scoring against FC Goa during their ISL game at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday. Sportzpics

It looked business as usual for Bengaluru FC before FC Goa came back with a vengeance to snatch a 2-2 draw in their opening Indian Super League clash at Fatorda Stadium on Sunday.

The clash built as a tussle between two teams -- one familiar and the other rebuilt -- was entertaining from the opening till the final whistle. 

Bengaluru, the known quantity, went ahead with goals coming from new signing Cleiton Silva and Juanan on either side of the break. Predictably, they came from deadball situations. However, Goa showed there is steel running through their newly constructed spine, pulling level with two quickfire goals from Igor Angulo after the hour mark.

As promised it was a tactical contest with both teams trying their hardest to nullify each others' attacking nous. BFC’s tactical flexibility meant that Cuadrat pushed Udanta Singh into midfield to make room for Silva and Kristian Opseth alongside Sunil Chhetri in the attack. 

The home team meanwhile were less adventurous than in the past with fullbacks Seriton Fernandes and Sanson Pereira, making his debut, often hanging back than bombing forward in the first half. 

BFC, who have made scoring goals from deadball situations into an art form over the past two seasons, took the lead in the 27th minute. A long throw-in by Harmanjot Khabra was kept alive and a lurking Silva lost his marker and motored his way past a static Goa defence to head in his first goal for the club.

After the break, BFC were at it again. Once again they kept the set-piece alive, and with all their big men in the box, the lofted ball was headed into Erik Paartalu who unselfishly headed across goal for Juanan, left unmarked in the box, to turn in three minutes before the hour mark.

While the Goa of the old may have folded, Ferrando’s men came alive, buoyed by his substitutions. With the introduction of Brandon Fernandes and Alberto Nougera, they struck in quick succession.

A quick passing move between Brandon and Noguera saw the latter slip in Ivan Angulo behind the defence. The Spanish striker, who looked sharp all night playing on the shoulders of the centre backs, sneaked his shot past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu into the bottom right corner in the 66th minute.

Three minutes later, Brandon, adding good creativity to the team, teed up Romario Jesuraj on the right flank and the midfielders’s cross was bundled into the goal by Angulo off his chest to draw his side level.

Buoyed by the comeback, Goa pushed hard for a winner with Jorge Ortiz, who had a good game, forcing Gurpreet to full stretch. However, there was no winner on the night as both teams played out an entertaining draw. 

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