Chhetri’s First Half Strike The Difference As Blues End Indian Super League Season With 1-0 Win
Bengaluru FC concluded their 2021-22 Indian Super League campaign with a 1-0 win over SC East Bengal, courtesy a first-half strike from Sunil Chhetri at the Tilak Maidan, in Vasco, on Saturday. The win meant a sixth placed finish for Marco Pezzaiuoli’s side, who finish their season with eight wins, five draws and seven defeats.
Earlier, Bengaluru made three changes to the side that took on ATK Mohun Bagan as Danish Farooq, Namgyal Bhutia and Yaya Banana were handed starts. SC East Bengal had a debutant in their ranks as Nepalese defender Ananta Tamang made his bow for the Torchbearers.
Bengaluru started strong but the first chance of the game fell to Subha Ghosh, who dispossessed Bhutia but saw his shot from distance saved by Lara Sharma in the Blues’ goal. Bengaluru were saved by Lara once again in the 22nd minute when, after Ajay Chhetri was caught in possession, Antonio Perosevic’s effort was kept out with a strong right arm.
Moments later, the Blues took the lead through Sunil Chhetri who controlled a long punt from Banana and skipped past Tamang before his shot found the back of the net past Suvam Sen. Udanta came close to doubling the Bengaluru lead five minutes later, but his shot from distance cannoned off the crossbar.
The Blues made change in the first half as Ajay Chhetri was replaced by Damaitphang Lyngdoh, closely followed by Leon Augustine’s introduction as Udanta Singh made way. SC East Bengal were forced into a change of their own as Perosevic was withdrawn and replaced by Marcelo Ribeiro after the Croatian suffered an ankle injury.
Heading into the second half, SC East Bengal made further changes, bringing on Songpu Singsit and Semboi Haokip in place of Lalrinliana Hnamte and Subha Ghosh.
Past the hour mark, Bengaluru made three further changes as Sivasakthi Narayanan, Rohit Kumar and Parag Shrivas were handed minutes. In the 70th minute, Marcelo had a chance to draw level but his shot was scuffed from close range and bounced out past Lara’s frame.
The Blues saw another effort go begging when, after Sivasakthi’s relentless pressing won possession, Chhetri saw his fizzed effort tipped over the bar by Sen.
Chhetri’s Bengaluru held on to their lead to see the game out, finishing their 2021-22 Indian Super League campaign in sixth place with 29 points.