Friday, January 27, 2017

Bengaluru stunned by Churchill

Bengaluru FC Media 
AIFF Media 

A ten-man Bengaluru FC fell to their second straight defeat going down 2-1 to Churchill Brothers in a game that saw tempers flare at the Tilak Maidan, in Goa, on Friday. Sunil Chhetri’s opener from the spot was canceled out by Anthony Wolfe before Chesterpoul Lyngdoh scored a second-half winner to consign Bengaluru to their first-ever defeat in Goa.

Ambling at a rather lazy pace, the game came to life in the 20th minute when Fulganco Cardozo brought down Roby Norales just as the Honduran was about to line up his shot, prompting referee Ranjit Bakshi to point to the spot. Chhetri stepped up and smashed his take to score for the first time since Bengaluru’s AFC Cup semifinal tie against Johor Darul Ta’zim in October 2016.

Bengaluru began finding their feet in attack and could have got a second minutes later when Chhetri skipped past two men and sent in the perfect cross only for Norales to head wide when he should have buried it home.
But it was a defensive blunder in the 33rd minute that hit Bengaluru the hardest when Chesterpoul Lyngdoh’s seemingly harmless punt from his own half went over John Johnson’s head and met Anthony Wolfe’s run. With Amrinder Singh off his line and stranded, the striker got Churchill an equaliser with a simple finish.

The goal seemed to have put a spring in the home side’s stride as they went on to grab the lead in the 53rdminute. Picked out by Wolfe in space, Chesterpoul Lyngdoh kept his calm before placing past Amrinder to make it 2-1.

Chasing the game, Roca introduced Udanta Singh and Mandar Rao Dessai to infuse some pace on the wings, pulling Norales and Nishu Kumar out in the bargain. The Blues began throwing numbers in attack and kept possession but kept running into a stubborn Churchill side who had ten men in defence.

CK Vineeth had the best chance in the 73rd minute when he looked to turn in a cross from Mandar. But his take was tipped over brilliantly by Priyant Kumar Singh in goal to deny the Blues.

The Blues were reduced to ten men on 79 minutes as Johnson was given the marching orders following a tackle on Chesterpoul. Tempers flared at the touchline as the Blues looked to chase the game back with the disadvantage, but it wasn’t to be.

Earlier, the Blues started with a tweaked line-up from the side that went down to East Bengal last week as Albert Roca handed Roby Norales a start ahead of Udanta Singh, while Alwyn George and Nishu Kumar came in for Lenny Rodrigues and Sena Ralte. Churchill, meanwhile, had players missing in Clifford Miranda, Brandon Fernandes and Seriton Fernandes. 

The Blues next travel to Jordan, where they will take on Al-Wehdat in the 2017 AFC Champions League Qualifier 2, on Tuesday, before another away fixture in the League against DSK Shivajians in Pune on February 5th. 

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