Nandhakumar’s First Half Goal Gives Hosts 1-0 Win Over Grayson’s Blues
Bengaluru FC’s struggles on the road continued after Simon Grayson’s men went down 1-0 to Odisha FC at the Kalinga Stadium, in Odisha, on Thursday. Nandhakumar Sekar’s goal (33’) in the first half was all the hosts needed to pick up three points and move to the top of the table. Bengaluru, who have come away with just one point from their last three games, stay in sixth position.
Having drawn away to Chennaiyin followed by a 1-0 defeat to champions Hyderabad FC at the Gachibowli last week, Bengaluru were keen to pick all points, but didn’t turn up with a performance to warrant a win.
Grayson was without key playmaker Javi Hernandez who had to fly back to Spain for the birth of his daughter, and the midfielder’s absence was telling. Experienced defender Prabir Das too didn’t make the trip to Odisha owing to an injury, as Grayson, yet again, started with young Namgyal Bhutia at the right-back position. The Blues were buoyed by the return of striker Roy Krishna who missed the game against Hyderabad with an injury.
Unsurprisingly, Bengaluru’s first big chance came through Krishna, who was picked out by a delightful pass from Bruno Ramires. The Fijian striker latched on to the ball and looked to place the ball beyond an onrushing Amrinder Singh, with the outside of his boot, only for the Odisha ’keeper to make the save. Amrinder had to swing into action soon again, scampering to boot the ball out after a sloppy back pass from Saul Crespo looked like rolling into the net.
The hosts found the lead just a little over the half-hour mark when Nandhakumar picked up leftovers from an Odisha corner, and drilled his shot past a blindsided Gurpreet Sigh Sandhu in goal to make it 1-0. The Blues suffered another setback before the break when Grayson was forced to make a change after striker Sivasakthi picked up an injury on his ankle.
Bengaluru had the second half to stage a fightback, but looked bereft of inspiration or intent as Odisha hung on to their one-goal lead all the way through to full time.
The Blues return to the Kanteerava next, where a clash against East Bengal FC awaits them on the 11th of November.