Bengaluru move to third after 2-1 win over Odisha 

Chhetri, Silva On Target Again As Blues Keep Winning Momentum Going

Goals from Sunil Chhetri (38’) and Cleiton Silva (79’) gave Bengaluru FC a 2-1 win over Odisha FC at the GMC Stadium, on Thursday, and sent the Blues to third position on the Indian Super League table. Bengaluru went ahead in the first half when skipper Chhetri rose to head home for a second consecutive game, before Steven Taylor brought Odisha back on level terms with a goal in the 71st minute. However, Bengaluru’s man in form, Silva, scored his third goal of the campaign to give Bengaluru all points on the night.

Both Carles Cuadrat and Stuart Baxter named an unchanged eleven for the game, with Pratik Chaudhari continuing to deputise for Rahul Bheke, whom the Blues’ boss had mentioned was being rested as a precautionary measure.

The Blues had a host of chances to take the lead in the 21st minute but couldn’t find the finishing touch. Ashique Kuruniyan, twisting and turning his marker, put in a cross that started the pinball in the Odisha box, but that was cleared after multiple BFC players took turns to make the breakthrough.

The skipper eventually broke the deadlock in the 38th minute in what was almost a carbon copy of his goal against Kerala Blasters, with the only difference being Harmanjot Khabra’s cross coming off his left leg this time. Sunil Chhetri outjumped Shubham Sarangi and placed his header beyond Arshdeep Singh’s reach to make it 1-0 to the Blues.

The Blues were forced into an early change in the second half after Jerry Mawihmingthanga’s knee caught Ashique Kuruniyan in the face, with the wing-back needing to  be driven to the hospital.

Having to switch things up, Cuadrat made a double change, replacing Fran Gonzaelz with Kristian Opseth, while Udanta Singh came on for Ashique. Gonzalez slotted in at the centre of defence with Juanan, Pratik Chaudhari moved to the right-back position, while Khabra manned the left.

The hosts got back on level terms in the 71st minute. Jerry’s freekick was turned in by Steven Taylor’s outstretched leg at the far post to make it 1-1 on the night. Looking bereft of ideas and creativity, Bengaluru had enough minutes on the clock to dig deep and grab the lead back. Cuadrat made two more changes, bringing on Deshorn Brown and Amay Morajkar for Suresh Wangjam and Erik Paartalu.

And it was the changes that came together to set up Silva for the winner. Bringing down a ball pinged from the midfield, Udanta found Brown with a header and the Jamaican did really well to shield the ball and lay it off for Silva who connected sweetly past Arshedeep to make it 2-1 to Bengaluru. The Blues kept possession and stopped Odisha’s rare forays into the final third to wrap up their third win of the campaign and climb to third spot on the table.

Bengaluru next face ATK Mohun Bagan, in what is an away fixture, at the Fatorda on December 21.