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Indian Super League: 10-man Bengaluru FC blank ATK 2-0

Bengaluru FC reigned supreme despite being reduced to 10 players as they blanked two-time champions ATK 2-0 to consolidate their lead in the Indian Super League (ISL).

football Updated: Feb 04, 2018 11:21 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Indian Super League,ISL,Bengaluru FC
Bengaluru FC beat ATK 2-0 in the Indian Super League (ISL). (ISL / SPORTZPICS)

Defending champions ATK ended three halves of not having scored with an effort from Jordi Figueras that curled in at the top corner. Problem was, it came at the wrong end. And three minutes into Saturday’s game against Indian Super League (ISL) table toppers Bengaluru FC, ATK were trailing.

Despite the horrific start, ATK absorbed Bengaluru FC’s early burst, during which Udanta Singh worked up pace so furious that Keegan Pereira was chasing crooked shadows, and could have got their first win in four games and 22 days.

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Instead, Micu scored against the run of play in the 83rd minute as Bengaluru FC, then down to 10 men, ran out 2-0 winners. They became the third team after FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC to do the double on ATK this term.

This was the first time that Bengaluru FC won three games in a row and it took them to 27 points. After their fourth successive loss, third under interim coach Ashley Westwood, ATK stay on 12. Both teams have played 13 games.

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ATK sleep-walked through the first 30 minutes waking up when Jayesh Rane’s powerful header hit the upright in the 32nd .Then Ryan Taylor’s long-range effort brought the best out of India’s top shot-stopper Gurpreet Singh. Bipin Singh’s deliveries from the right looked menacing and in the 49th minute, it almost led to the equaliser. Rahul Bheke prevented that with a timely tackle on Rane.

Rane went over from almost on the goalline after another Bipin cross reached him unmarked. Then Robbie Keane, making his first appearance since the away loss against Bengaluru FC on January 7, nearly scored from a melee. Figueras came close with a toe-poke soon after. Between those misses, Bheke was booked twice in six minutes and by the 69th , Bengaluru FC were a player short.

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Playing as right-back because Harmanjot Khabra was suspended, Bheke went studs up into Keegan Pereira and could have been evicted for that challenge alone. Referee Tejas Nagvenkar let him off with a booking but Bheke then barrelled into Rane and was sent off.

With ATK throwing men forward, Bengaluru FC got space and after Debjit Majumder made a hash of a routine collection, Ashutosh Mehta had to make a goaline save, off Micu. Signs of how dangerous Bengaluru FC they could be on the counter-attack had come earlier when Sunil Chhetri, subdued otherwise, found Micu whose couldn’t keep the header on target.

The Venezuelan, however, wasn’t to be denied when on the break he turned Figueras’ night into a nightmare beating the Spaniard with La Liga experience for pace and slotting home.

It was his 10th goal of the competition and took him to second place in the race for the golden boot, two behind leader Ferran Corrominas of FC Goa.

First Published: Feb 03, 2018 22:38 IST