Missed chances mark tough away loss in Bengaluru

The Red and Gold Brigade suffered their first ISL loss of the season away to Bengaluru as Mahesh’s exquisite goal early in the 1st half was cancelled out by goals from Sunil Chettri and Javi Hernandez in front of a packed Kanteerava Stadium.

The game got off to a ferocious start with both sides looking to take the early initiative. In the 15th minute, Nandha Kumar found Mahesh with a defence splitting pass and the latter dribbled past two opposition defenders to finish past a hapless Gurpreet much to the delight of the loud Red and Gold faithful in the stands. The lead however was short-lived as Sunil Chettri scored from the spot in the 21st minute following what was a harsh penalty call from the official. The keepers were not bothered much for the rest of the half as the score remained 1-1 at the break.

The 2nd half began in similar fashion as the red and gold brigade found plenty of joy specially down the right wing. Nandha Kumar missed a golden chance to put us 2-1 up when he skied a beautiful ball in from the flanks. Shortly after Khabra’s beautiful run into the box and subsequent header almost gave us the lead again, with his effort missing the top corner by a few inches. In the 72nd minute, Javi Hernandez made the most of a miscues clearance in the box, to score with a thumping bicycle kick that gave Bengaluru the crucial lead going into the final phase of the game. Coach Carles was quick to ring in the changes having conceded the goal as Siverio and Souvik came off the bench but the hosts held out for the remainder of regulation and injury time.

With the final whistle blown after a gruelling encounter away from home, the boys will now head into the international break with a chance to recover and come back stronger against FC Goa, a fortnight from now.

Speaking at the post match conference, Coach Cuadrat said the boys were already working hard on their finishing so he doesn’t want to ponder too much on the missed chances tonight. Coach Cuadrat said that he hopes to make the most of the break by playing a few friendlies to get the likes of Hijazi acclimated to the conditions and competitive levels in India. He signed off by thanking the travelling fans for their tireless support and thoughtful gestures which he said will be a memorable part of this trip to Bengaluru.