Bengaluru leave it late to steal the show against Kerala

Injury Time Goals From Miku, Udanta Sees Blues End League Stages With Record Tally

Bengaluru: It took injury time goals from Miku (90+1’) and Udanta Singh (90+3’), but Bengaluru FC eventually got the job done as they completed the double over Kerala Blasters with a 2-0 win at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Thursday.

In a sold-out fixture at the Fortress, the Blues were made to wait till the dying moments of the game, before they converted their dominance into late goals to win their thirteenth game of the campaign. The result took the hosts to an unprecedented 40 points at the end of the league stage.

With no Juanan Gonzalez, John Johnson (suspensions) and Harmanjot Khabra (injury) in defence, Roca’s line-up had Erik Paartalu alongside Rahul Bheke and Subhasish at the back while Nishu Kumar slotted in at left back.

In a first half where the Blues chose calm and caution over flamboyance, it was Miku and Chhetri who fed off each other to keep the Blasters’ defence on their toes. The skipper had a flash at goal in the 11th minute but it was one that flew wide. Nishu Kumar then had a couple of bold efforts, ones he couldn’t keep on target. But the chance of the half belonged to Miku. On the stroke of half-time, the Venezuelan chased and took control of a fantastic pass by Dimas Delgado. With Sandesh Jhingan close on his heels, the striker’s attempted cut-back was halted by a tackle in the box that referee Pranjal Banerjee refused to make too much off.

Close to the hour mark, Roca made two changes, bringing on Udanta Singh and Daniel Segovia for Boithang Haokip and Nishu. The Blues were calling the shots, but the substitutions were indication enough of the goal that Roca wanted.  Chhetri very nearly granted the boss his wish when Toni Dovale lifted one over for the skipper in the box. But the tight angle didn’t help the effort.

Udanta had the chance to become the super-sub in the 75th minute when he rose to meet Dovale’s cross only to glance his header agonizingly wide.

In the 88th minute, Bengaluru once again went close, this time through Miku, who sprinted clear from the right after getting the better of Jhingan. The Blues’ top-scorer somehow shot wide at the far post as he tried to hammer a grounder across the goal from the edge of the box.

The Venezuelan however made amends for the miss in the first minute of injury time as he smashed home Segovia’s set up for his 14th of the season. While it seemed that the Blues would wrap up the game at 1-0, Udanta made up for his earlier miss with a sweet finish from inside the box to double the Blues’ lead and seal the points.

The Blues will now face the fourth-placed team in a two-legged semifinal.

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