East Bengal made best use of poor defending to end Bengaluru FC’s unbeaten home run here on Sunday.
Despite the 0-2 defeat, Bengaluru FC remains at the top of the table (27 points from 14 points), but Sporting Goa is fast closing in with 24 points and a match in hand.
The absence of centre-back John Johnson — suspended after picking up four yellow cards this season — cost Bengaluru FC dear.
James Moga and Edeh Chidi, the East Bengal strikers, revelled in the space offered to them. The back-line of N.S. Manju, R. Vishal and Curtis Osano were not up to the mark; the visiting forwards ran circles around them.Defence caught napping
South Sudan’s Moga gave East Bengal the lead in the 17th minute. A clearance from the East Bengal goalkeeper — down the centre — caught the defence napping.
Moga pushed aside his marker, and Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Soram Anganba rushed out of the box. Moga brought the ball under control with his chest, and moved past the custodian.
Anganba, a late replacement for the injured Pawan Kumar, and the defence cut a sorry figure as Moga tapped the ball into goal. Before the end of the first-half, Sean Rooney created a couple of chances for Bengaluru FC. A header found the crossbar, and a curling left-footed free-kick went just wide.
Ashley Westwood’s men then started the second-half with purpose. Siam Hangal nearly provided an equaliser in the 57th minute — his screamer from outside the box bounced off the far-post.
The wily East Bengal players went down at the slightest of touches, while the exasperated Bengaluru FC team made desperate attempts to keep play going.
The contest, however, came to an end in the 80th minute. Nigerian striker Chidi’s scorching left-footed strike sneaked past the near-post, and the 8,200-strong crowd at the Bangalore Football Stadium fell silent.
The result: Bengaluru FC 0 lost to East Bengal 2 (Moga 17, Chidi 81).