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Hernandez steals the show for BFC

Gerard Zaragoza and his troops pocketed three valuable points which vaulted them to sixth on the league table. This victory also meant that BFC remained undefeated against Kerala Blasters at home in the ISL.
Last Updated 02 March 2024, 18:15 IST

Bengaluru: Javi Hernandez drilled a dagger into Kerala Blasters’ hearts with an 89th-minute winner as Bengaluru FC won 1-0 in the Indian Super League game at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday. 

Gerard Zaragoza and his troops pocketed three valuable points which vaulted them to sixth on the league table. This victory also meant that BFC remained undefeated against Kerala Blasters at home in the ISL. 

Amid the backdrop of a deafening hubbub that lasted the entirety of the hard-fought contest, the home faithful roared the loudest as Hernandez rifled in substitute Shivaldo Singh’s cut-back, sending the decibel levels through the roof. 

Zaragoza rejigged his set-up as Slavko Damjanovic partnered Aleksandar Jovanovic at centre-back and helped in keeping a tight defensive line, while Chinglensana Singh played as a deep-lying midfielder to help hasten transitions. 

Both teams looked to impose their intentions from the start. The combative Suresh Singh Wangjam, making a return after serving a suspension, ensured that the hosts dominated proceedings in the middle of the pitch as tackles flew in from both sides. 

BFC continued to have more possession and despite getting a number of their players into dangerous spaces, the killer pass was found lacking in accuracy in the first period. 

For the Blasters, Dimitrios Diamantakos cut a forlorn figure, as the Men in Blue did well to cut off passing channels from the likes of Daisuke Sakai and Nihal Sudeesh to the Greek forward. 

Sunil Chhetri miscued his header off Ryan Williams’ cross in the 13th minute, as the skipper endured another frustrating outing in front of goal.

Hernandez’s clever free-kick narrowly eluded Chhetri’s out-stretched leg in the best chance of the first half. 

Chhetri came agonisingly close again in the 68th minute. Williams did brilliantly to provide a pin-point cross into the box, and the 39-year-old was inches away from tapping into an empty net. 

Hernandez had two snapshots early in the second half, while Fedor Cernych’s shot on target was blocked valiantly by Chinglensana as both sides went for the kill.

Zaragoza’s triple-substitution worked wonders as the fresh legs of Shivaldo strode purposefully on the counter-attack, and the 19-year-old had the nous to find the unerring Spaniard. 

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(Published 02 March 2024, 18:15 IST)

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