Memorable debut for Bengaluru FCNovember 20, 2017
This may have been a new tournament but Bengaluru FC did not take long to acclimatise.
Edu Garcia and captain Sunil Chhetri were on target as the ISL debutant began its journey with a 2-0 win over Mumbai City at a frenzied Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Sunday. The first half had been cagey and physical but BFC’s superiority told after the interval. Garcia put the home side ahead on 67 minutes before Chhetri — who refused to celebrate against his former team — guaranteed the outcome with a strike in stoppage time.
BFC had the better of the early exchanges, even if the home side had little to show for its endeavour. Chhetri shot wide from a Miku cross before Udanta Singh blazed over the bar from the edge of the area. BFC found space behind Mumbai’s full-backs and attacked it, with Udanta its principal outlet down the right flank.
The Manipur-born forward gave Abinash Ruidas a harrowing time with his pace, and had arguably the best chance of the half, when Chhetri played him through with acres of space ahead. But Udanta crossed when he should have shot and the move broke down. Mumbai did little of note except make a few robust challenges; its Brazilian defenders Gerson and Rozario were rightly booked.
At half-time, Alexandre Guimaraes decided his left-back had suffered enough at Udanta’s hands.
Ruidas was instead pushed forward with Meerajuddin Wadoo brought on. It made little difference. Not long after the hour-mark, Edu Garcia played a corner short to Udanta. After a give-and-go, the Spaniard cut into the area unchallenged and fired past Amrinder Singh.
Mumbai pushed forward in search of an equaliser, and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was forced into making a couple of saves — perhaps for the first time in the match.
Mumbai’s efforts, however, only offered BFC more space on the counter-attack. Udanta came close, combining well with Miku before his shot sailed over the crossbar again.
Chhetri was then upended when he rushed into the area, but no penalty was awarded. Albert Roca protested, but he need not have worried; Chhetri would find the net minutes later.