Blues beat Blasters, move into fourth position

Naorem Roshan’s Second-Half Free Kick Sends Rivals From The South Packing As Bengaluru’s Charge Gathers Pace

Bengaluru FC moved into fourth position on the Indian Super League table after Naorem Roshan’s first goal (56’) for the club – a delightfully struck free kick – gave the Blues a 1-0 win over rivals Kerala Blasters, at the Tilak Maidan, in Vasco, on Sunday. The win also extended Bengaluru’s unbeaten run to eight games while bringing a halt to the Blasters’ ten-game streak.

Pezzaiuoli rang in two changes to the team that started in the 3-0 win against Chennaiyin FC, with Gurpreet Singh Sandhu returning from an illness, and midfielder Danish Farooq having served his one-game suspension. Brazilian centre half Alan Costa made it to bench, as the Blues started with an all-Indian defence for the third game in a row.

Bengaluru had shouts for a penalty turned away when Hormipam Ruivah brought Sunil Chhetri down in the box, Danish Farooq’s effort on the rebound was blocked away. One of the Blues’ many half-chances fell to Prince Ibara who headed inches wide from a Roshan corner. Just a little earlier, Farooq shot wide from close after Sunil Chhetri let an Udanta Singh cross pass him without a touch.

But it took all of ten minutes into the second half for Bengaluru to grab the lead, and it was a goal of brilliance from a player who has been racking up all the assists this season. Standing over the ball after Farooq was brought down, Roshan put the perfect amount of whip, curl and pace on the free kick with his left, to send it past the wall and Prabhsukhan Gill in goal to make it 1-0 to Bengaluru.

Second-half substitute Cleiton Silva came inches from shutting the door on Kerala in the 80th minute when he saw his goal-bound drive deflected wide by Gill’s foot. But Bengaluru were in complete control, making sure there would be no late drama. The Blasters’ best effort on the night came when Alvaro Vazquez teed up Adrian Luna in the box, but Gurpreet came off his line quickly to make the block.

Pezzaiuoli introduced Costa at the back, and pulled off Chhetri for Rohit Kumar to make sure things remained tight when Kerala had the ball. Silva and Bruno Ramires combined in the additional minutes of the second half with the Kerala defence all out of position. But Ramires’ flash on goal flew over.

The Blues take on second-placed Jamshedpur FC next on February 5 at the Athletic Stadium, in Bambolim.

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