BFC consolidate position at top

Last Updated 01 December 2018, 02:51 IST

Rahul Bheke had a day to remember. An own goal from the Bengaluru FC defender had brought FC Pune City back on level terms but he more than made up for his mistake with a last-gasp strike that gave his side the 2-1 win in a lively Indian Super League encounter.

In the 88th minute, a determined Bheke made a darting run in the Pune box and slotted in a Harmanjot Singh Khabra’s lofted cross, much to the delight of the sparse crowd at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Friday.

This was their sixth straight win which consolidated Bengaluru’s position at the top of the table with 22 points from eight games while Pune remain at the ninth place, having garnered five points from 10 games.

Udanta Singh had given Bengaluru the lead with a wonderful finish in the 11th minute. Udanta collected a pass from Khabra in the right wing and dribbled towards the Pune box. The winger outmaneuvered defender Lalchhuanmawia Fanai with a fine step over, before curling his effort into the far corner of the net, past the helpless goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh.

The joy was shortlived as Pune struck back four minutes later. Brazilian Marcelo Leite Pereira drove towards the BFC box, almost unchallenged, and slid the ball to Marko Stankovic in the right wing. The Austrian then drilled in a low cross in the box in an attempt to find Robin Singh but Bheke, attempting to stop it, stuck his leg out and inadvertently sent the ball into his own net.

Carles Cuadrat’s men dominated right from the beginning. With Erik Paartalu and Dimas Delgado back in the starting XI, Bengaluru dictated the play in the midfield. Paartalu, in particular, was a handful for Pradhyum Reddy’s side, who found it difficult to get past him. The tall midfielder even had his effort bounce off the crossbar in the added minute of the first half.

BFC skipper Sunil Chhetri had a quiet day compared to his previous outings while Chencho Gyeltshen from Bhutan yet again disappointed. His attempts were either blocked by defenders or saved by the Pune custodian.

Cuadrat was thrilled with the result and was not too bothered about his strikers’ conversion rate.

“I am not concerned about conversion rate. It is about missing chances by inches, I am happy that we were able to create so many chances,” Cuadrat said at the post-match press conference.

“As long we win I am happy,” he added.

(Published 30 November 2018, 18:42 IST)

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