Blues Claw Back From A Goal Down Only To Let Lead Slip In See-Saw Encounter
Bengaluru FC shared points with NorthEast United FC in a 2-2 draw that saw the Blues concede early, score two and then allow the visitors an equaliser in a game at the Fatorda that Carles Cuadrat’s men should have finished with all points for the way they dominated their opponents. The Blues fell back early to a deflected Luis Machado goal but soon equalised when Juanan Gonzalez scored from close range. Udanta Singh – a second-half substitute – then scored to make it 2-1 to Bengaluru, only for the Blues to concede soon after with Machado bagging his second.
Carles Cuadrat made no changes to the team that started in the win against Chennaiyin last week while Gerard Nus, his NorthEast counterpart, made four changes to the side that defeated SC East Bengal – Dylan Fox, V. P. Suhair, Rochharzela and Lalrempuia Fanai replacing Mashoor Shereef, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Idrissa Sylla and Lalengmawia.
Bengaluru got off to a bit of a horror start, conceding in the 4th minute when Rochharzela’s shot took a big deflection off his teammate Machado while a wrong-footed Gurpreet Singh Sandhu could only watch as the ball sailed into the back of the net.
It did not take long for the Blues to get back on level terms when Juanan Gonzalez scored his second of the season. The visitors’ defence failed to clear Harmanjot Khabra’s long throw in the 14th minute and Juanan was the first to react, smashing the ball into the roof of the goal from close range to make it 1-1.
Armed with an early equaliser, Bengaluru set siege to the NorthEast third and came close on more than a few occasions, with Ashique Kuruniyan orchestrating a flurry of chances from the left. The best of those fell to Harmanjot Khabra, who had both time and space but could only shoot wide with his left foot.
The Blues could have gone a goal up the minute after the game restarted when Kristian Opseth – who came on for Deshorn Brown – closed down on ’keeper Gurmeet Singh forcing him to panic and play a weak pass to Dylan Fox that Cleiton Silva intercepted. The Brazilan’s shot, however, lacked pace and was wide of the frame with Gurmeet out of position.
In the 51st minute, Appiah nodded Suhair’s cross into the ground and towards the far corner before Gurpreet pulled off a stunning, one-handed save at full stretch to stop the visitors from taking the lead again. At the other end then, Gurmeet matched Gurpreet’s save with one of his own, denying Opseth – who poked Silva’s cross goalward – from point-blank range.
On the hour mark, Cuadrat rang in Bengaluru’s second change, bringing on Udanta Singh for Suresh Wangjam who had yet another impressive game, leaving no blade of grass untouched. And the substitution worked like a charm when Udanta’s low hit from a Sunil Chhetri assist squirmed past Gurmeet to make it 2-1.
The Highlanders were back on level terms in the 78th minute. Sylla’s flick on to Machado had too much pace on it and evaded Juanan’s outstretched leg at the edge of the box. One-on-one with Gurpreet, the Portuguese winger put the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-2.
In search of the third goal and three points, Cuadrat brought on another striker, with Semboi Haokip replacing Bheke. Despite a flurry of late attacks, the Blues couldn’t add another goal to the scoreline and had to settle for a point.
The Blues next face Kerala Blasters at the same venue on 13th December.