Bellary: Minerva Punjab defeated Bengaluru FC 3-2 in their second pre-season match at the latter’s Residental Academy in Vidyanagar, Bellary on Wednesday. It was not an upset, but Bhutanese ‘Ronaldo’ Chencho Gyeltshen’s way of announcing himself to India, with a wonderful hat-trick, against one of the most successful Indian teams in recent times.
It was a battle between the country’s northern powerhouse and the two time I-League champions that possessed the likes of Barcelona “B” midfielders Dimas Delgado and Edu Garcia and former Venezuelan international Miku in their line-up. But Minerva looked stronger on the pitch in the opening minutes and could have gone ahead when Abhishek Ambekar made a darting run in the very first minute, but was fouled on the edge of the penalty box, with the resulting free-kick going out of play.
Minerva had more possession on the ball and attacked on a regular basis with Girik Khosla and William Opoko coming close on a couple of occasions but failed to put one in the net. Their efforts however bore fruit, when Opoko chipped in a brilliant long ball to Chencho, who slotted it home with his first shot on goal. Confident with one goal ahead, Minerva full-backs surged forward and sent in some wonderful crosses, but Girik, Chencho and William failed to double the lead, with their attempts wide of the target in most occasions.
32 minutes later, it was Chencho again who doubled the lead for the Chandigarh based side after Opoko laid in a wonderful through ball, racking up another assist to his name. Bengaluru however got a life-line, when Miku put one back just before half-time to make it 2-1 at the end of an exciting first-half.
Both the sides made changes in the second-half as Minerva introduced Souvik Das for Girik Khosla and Abhishek Ambekar in place of Rahul Das. But it was Bengaluru, who dominated the opening minutes this time, having more possession on the ball with Miku at the centre of all attacks. Miku’s long range effort was quite comfortably collected by Minerva goalie Arshpreet Singh. Things however materialised when Miku equalised for the second time in the match, through a deflected shot.
But it was Chencho again who scored his hat-trick soon after, to make it 3-2 for Minerva and bring up the win. It was a great win over the tough opponents as Gyeltshen proved Just why he is dubbed the ‘Bhutanese Ronaldo.’