Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bengauru return to winning ways against Minerva

AIFF Media 
Bengaluru FC Media  

Bengaluru FC broke a jinx, claiming their first win in over a month and a half as a Lenny Rodrigues header in the 17th minute gave them a 1-0 victory against Minerva Punjab FC at the Guru Nanak Stadium, in Ludhiana, on Sunday. The result marked Albert Roca’s first away win in charge of the Blues and sends them to fourth position with 16 points from 11 games.

The Blues shaped in a 4-4-2 where John Johnson returned to the centre of defence alongside Juan Gonzalez while Serbian striker Marjan Jugovic made his Bengaluru debut. And it didn’t take long for Johnson to show the kind of assuredness he brings with him, winning every aerial duel while giving Juan the freedom to join in attack. Nishu Kumar at left-back was a constant threat, taking on the Minerva defence bravely and giving enough reason for Bengaluru to throw numbers in the box in attack.

But in what was the most important ‘first’ on the day for Bengaluru, Lenny leaped high to nod home Cameron Watson’s take from the corner, a goal that marked his first since signing for the Blues in the summer.

Having learned well enough about the lack of assurance a one-goal lead has given them in the past, Bengaluru kept pressing for a second with Jugovic and CK Vineeth working hard together on a pitch that didn’t really help the cause. Jhingan saw a header from a corner bounce inches wide in the 40th minute as Bengaluru could take just the goal to the dressing room at half time.

In a second half that saw a better-adjusted Bengaluru side, Udanta Singh had a shot saved in the 49th minute before Jugovic saw his looping header float inches high of the Minerva crossbar. Looking to keep things tight and close the game, Roca threw in Harmanjot Khabra for Jugovic and Daniel Lalhlimpuia for CK Vineeth.

Lalhlimpuia had more than a few efforts to double the Blues’ lead, combining well with the skipper, but lacking the finishing touch as the Blues settled for the one-nil win.

Bengaluru next face Chennai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Chennai, on Wednesday.