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Sunil Chhetri scores twice as Bengaluru FC whip Mumbai City FC to top ISL table

Sunil Chhetri scored a brace as Bengaluru FC thrashed Mumbai City 3-1 in their Indian Super League (ISL) encounter in Mumbai today.

football Updated: Jan 19, 2018 10:11 IST
Sarthak Bal
Sarthak Bal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Sunil Chhetri,Bengaluru FC,Mumbai City FC
Sunil Chhetri celebrates scoring a goal during the Indian Super League match vs Mumbai City FC held at the Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai January 18. (ISL / SPORTZPICS)

Spurred on by a handful of their faithful -- The West Block Blues, Bengaluru FC put on a show to thrash Mumbai City FC 3-1 at Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday evening. (Highlights)

A brace from skipper Sunil Chhetri and perfectly executed Miku free-kick lifted Bengaluru FC to the top of the table, one point ahead of second-placed Chennaiyin FC. Leo Costa pulled one back for Mumbai, who continue to languish at fifth position after their second consecutive home defeat, their third this season.

Udanta Singh was excellent for the away side on the right flank. In the first half, he combined wonderfully with Miku to tee up Sunil Chettri, whose first time shot forced Amrinder Singh into making a strong save in the 25th minute.

At the 45-minute mark the Manipuri winger was able to break away from a couple of challenges and get a shot away. His brilliance of course would be rewarded shortly after restart in the second period.

Bengaluru had clearly began to impose themselves in the last 15 minutes of the first half and found their break through in the 43rd minute after Balwant Singh shoved Chettri inside the box, prompting the referee to instantaneously point to the spot.

Amrinder Singh, unhappy with the decision charged towards the referee in protest and was shown a yellow card for his troubles. Chettri stepped up moments later to slot it past Amrinder into the top left corner.

Mumbai’s best chance in the first half had also fallen to Balwant in the 35th minute when Everton Santos floated in a wonderful cross to find the striker, whose tame effort was easily collected by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

A frustrated Balwant also got himself in the referee’s book after he lashed out at Harmnajot Khabra, nudging him in the face with his elbow.

Bengaluru FC started the second half just as they had ended the first. Chettri slipped in a pass to Miku in the 49th minute but the Venezuelan striker was unable to keep his shot on target.

Three minutes later, Udanta dribbled his way into Mumbai’s box before squaring it to Chettri, who lifted if over the keeper off his right boot and into the top left corner to double Bengaluru’s lead.

The away side continued to press as Gearson Vieira brought down Miku at edge of box. After some dilly-dallying Chettri raced into the box leaving it for the No 7. Miku made no mistake, curling it low and hard into the bottom left corner to seal the game for the visitors.

Leo Costa was able to get the home side a consolation goal in the 76th minute after Balwant found him with a chipped pass inside the box. Costa took it in his stride to slot through Sandhu’s legs.

“I think we were playing very focused from the beginning. Step by step we grew in the game. I think my team was better on the night as we didn’t let them get comfortable at any point,” Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca said of his team’s performance on the night.

Mumbai’s coach Alexandre Guimaraes too conceded that Bengaluru were in control of the game in the second period. “I think we played a very good first half. It was an open game. Unfortunately we were undone by a penalty. But they started with a goal in the second half and it became more difficult from there. They managed the tempo of the game from there,” Guimaraes said.

First Published: Jan 18, 2018 22:24 IST