Paartalu, Chhetri On Target As Blues Move To Second Position On The ISL Table
Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC kept the pressure on the leading pack after goals from Erik Paartalu (8′) and Sunil Chhetri (63’) gave the Blues a 2-0 win over Jamshedpur FC, at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Thursday. Fluent and superior through the ninety minutes, Bengaluru’s victory took them to second on the table, and within two points of leaders FC Goa.
The Blues had a significant change to the line-up where Manuel Onwu started ahead of Udanta Singh in attack, with Sunil Chhetri and Ashique Kuruniyan on the wings. The visitors too had a couple of new faces in strikers David Grande – who joined the squad last week – and Gourav Mukhi.
Buoyed by a fantastic win over Goa at home last week, Bengaluru were keen to ride on the momentum. And they struck as early as the 8th minute when Paartalu towered over every shirt in the box to power a header past Subrata Paul at the near post to give the Blues the lead.
Bengaluru were comfortable in possession through the half, and the absence of playmaker Piti wasn’t helping Jamshedpur’s attempt to claw back into the contest. The one time they did have a half-chance, Kuruniyan covered ground fantastically to stick a leg in and put Farukh Choudhary’s attempt on goal, out for a corner.
For a fixture that’s often been decided in the dying minutes, the Blues knew they needed a second goal and Kuruniyan had an early chance that he should have done better with. Ghosting past a host of white shirts, the winger played a give-and-go with Onwu, only to hit a weak attempt wide.
Needing to chase the game, Antonio Iriondo began the second half with a substitution, bringing on Bikash Jairu for Jitendra Singh, as Jamshedpur went with three at the back. Bengaluru’s assistant, Javi Pinillos – standing in for a suspended Carles Cuadrat – responded with a change of his own, withdrawing Onwu for Udanta.
Bengaluru survived a scare when an uncharacteristic error by Dimas Delgado – a back pass – found Mukhi who charged at goal with the ball at his feet. But an inspired bit of defending by Juanan Gonzalez saw the Spaniard catch up with and dispossess the striker just before he could get a shot away.
The miss proved expensive for Jamshedpur as Bengaluru scored a second from the same move. After scoring the first, Paartalu turned provider, picking Chhetri with a long pass. Making the most of a napping defence, Chhetri headed the ball past an onrushing Paul, before getting around the ’keeper and slotting into an empty net. Udanta soon had a fantastic chance to end a lengthy goal drought when Chhetri set him up for a finish. But the winger scuffed his shot wide.
Into the final quarter, Jamshedpur had the best chance to reduce the deficit when Grande was played through on goal. The Spaniard, who had time and space at his mercy, managed to keep his shot on target, but it wasn’t enough to trouble Gurpreet, who tipped it over with a strong right arm.