Bengaluru FC Media
Bengaluru FC’s East Bengal hoodoo continued when they were left to rue missed chances by the dozen as the Red and Golds were lucky to nick a goal and three points at the Salt Lake Stadium, .
Ashley Westwood made a statement of intent with the line-up he chose. Substitutes in the loss to Pune, Sunil Chhetri and Robin Singh were both handed starts in a team that featured Sean Rooney too. And it took as many as five minutes for the Blues to unsettle the East Bengal defence. Put through by a precise Joshua Walker ball, Robin Singh had no one but Subhashish Roychowdhury to beat. But a delay to shoot by a fraction cost the striker dear.
Only minutes later, Walker was at the helm of things himself. Skipping past a player and caressing the ball into space, the midfielder caught Roychowdhury off his line and almost scored a contender for goal of the season with the prettiest of chips only to see it ricochet off the crossbar. The rebound fell kindly for Robin but the striker’s hook was off target. The Blues made sure Roychowdhury was the busiest man in the half when Eugeneson Lyngdoh’s rasping strike from 25 yards out drew a save from the ’keeper.
Despite numerous chances to take the lead, the Blues went into the break with the scores unchanged. Needing to make use of the major share of possession, Armando Colaco's men started the second half with renewed vigour.
Swift on the counter and clinical down the flanks, East Bengal took the lead in the 53rd minute through Abinash Ruidas. The nippy winger found himself at the right place at the right time to slide in and finish under pressure following Ranti Martins' trap of an Arnab Mondal cross.
Handed the disadvantage early in the second half, the Blues ventured forward to find the all important equaliser with Chhetri and Beikhokhei Beingaichho running riot down the wings. The visitors responded almost immediately when Rooney slid Beingaichho through but East Bengal defender Milan Susak did well to recover and make the block.
The Blues' best chance to pull level fell to Robin when Rooney curled a peach of a cross into the area. The 24-year-old striker's glancing header missed Roychowdhury's far post by inches to keep East Bengal's lead intact. With minutes left to play in regulation time, Westwood sent on Thoi Singh and Lalchhuanmawia to put pressure on the East Bengal backline but the home side stood strong to see the game through and claim all three points.