ISL: Bengaluru floor Chennai; registers first win

Bengaluru FC players celebrates after winning the match against Chennaiyan FC at Shree Kanteerva Stadium in Bengaluru. (DH Photo)

Bengaluru FC registered their first win of the season after overpowering Chennaiyin FC 3-0 in the Indian Super League at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Sunday.

After three consecutive draws, BFC were placed seventh on the table, but this victory saw the Blues climb to the fifth position with six points. Chennaiyin, on the other hand, stayed at the bottom, after suffering their third loss in four games.

Australia’s Erik Paartalu netted the opener for BFC in the 14th minute before captain Sunil Chhetri made it 2-0 with a powerful strike (25th). Semboi Haokip completed the fine win with a late strike in the 84th minute.

Looking for their first win, BFC were relentless in their hunt for the opening goal. The Blues launched a barrage of attacks and unsettled the Chennaiyin defence from the get-go.

Paartalu came close to opening the scoring inside the first three minutes. A long-throw from Rahul Bheke found Paartalu, unmarked inside the box, but the defensive midfielder’s header landed straight into the hands of Chennaiyin custodian Vishal Kaith.

Two minutes later, Bheke was at it again. His throw found Rafael Augusto this time. The Brazilian held off Dhanpal Ganesh, turned and squared the ball to Juanan, whose low effort was saved by an alert Kaith.

In the 11th minute, Chhetri’s diving header off a cross from Udanta on the right flank even rattled the bar.  

The Blues deservedly took the lead through Paartalu. The Australian, again left unguarded inside the box made no mistake this time and powered his header past the helpless Chennaiyin goalkeeper. The defending champions weren’t done yet as they aggressively looked to double their advantage. And it arrived in the 25th minute. Augusto saw the run of Chhetri and lifted the ball from the midfield in his path over a clueless Chennaiyin defence.

The BFC skipper took a touch and fired the ball into the net for his first goal of the season.

Andre Schembri could have pulled one back for Chennaiyin but the striker failed to guide his header on target off a cross from midfielder Edwin Sydney a minute before the half-time whistle.

Chennaiyin came out a much better side after the break but failed to make the most of their chances. Dhanpal Ganesh came within the closest distance of reducing the deficit after his attempted header was deflected off the bar.

BFC made sure to make Chennaiyin pay for their misses as in 84th minute, Semboi, who came in as a substitute for Nishu Kumar, latched onto a long ball from midfield, outmustled defender Eli Sabia to enter the box and kicked the ball past an onrushing custodian Kaith to make it 3-0, much to delight of the home supporters.

Gregory to quit? 

After the match, Chennaiyin coach John Gregory suggested that his time with the club is all but over after his side’s another disappointing performance in the competition.  

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