Football

ISL | Chhetri seals it in BFC’s favour

Sunil Chhetri of Bengaluru FC takes the penalty during match 16 of the 7th season of the Hero Indian Super League between Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC held at the GMC Stadium Bambolim, Goa, India on the 4th December 2020 Photo by Deepak Malik / Sportzpics for ISL  

A Sunil Chhetri spot-kick decided a tense Chennaiyin FC-Bengaluru FC tie and brought his team its first win of the 2020-21 ISL campaign at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, Goa, on Friday.

Substitute Edwin Vanspaul brought down BFC forward Cleiton Silva with a sliding tackle. Chhetri converted in the 56th minute by hitting the ball low into the bottom-left corner, past Vishal Kaith’s outstretched arm. The loss was Chennaiyin’s first of the season after a win and a draw.

At the outset, BFC showed more urgency than it had in its opening two games. Dimas Delgado, who made his first start, was to lend the so-far lumbering BFC midfield some direction and incision. A through-ball in the second minute to set Silva free was indicative of this.

Thapa hobbles off

But the game soon turned feisty, with Chennaiyin creative midfielder Anirudh Thapa at the receiving end. Two challenges from Ashique Kuruniyan forced Thapa to hobble off, replaced as early as the 16th minute by Vanspaul.

Chennaiyin, however, retained its shape, with the attacking duo of Lallianzuala Chhangte and Rafael Crivellaro keeping the opposition defenders busy. BFC made multiple forays into the opposition half, but couldn’t break through and often backpedalled to safety.

Minutes after the break, Chennaiyin conceded a dangerous free-kick at the edge of the box on the left flank but BFC wasted it with an over-elaborate manoeuvre. Deepak Tangri came close for Chennaiyin, but his header was well saved by BFC goalie Gurpreet Sandhu. Tackles flew and tempers raged, but clear-cut chances were few and far between. Delgado’s long-ranger, two far-post volleys by Chennaiyin’s Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev, and a drive from distance by BFC’s Erik Paartalu were the notable ones.

Chennaiyin’s appeal for a penalty in the 69th minute when Crivellaro’s header appeared to strike Kuruniyan’s hands fell on deaf ears.

The result: Chennaiyin FC 0 lost to Bengaluru FC 1 (Chhetri 56-pen).

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 2:37:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/isl-chhetri-seals-it-in-bfcs-favour/article33253062.ece

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