Chennai: Bengaluru FC registered a comfortable 3-1 victory over Chennaiyin FC and extended their lead at the top of the Indian Super League table to seven points at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, on Tuesday.
The visitors created more chances and deservedly took away all three points from the game.
Bengaluru FC opened the scoring with barely a minute on the clock through Boithang Haokip. Chennaiyin FC equalised through Francisco Fernandes in the 33rd minute but Bengaluru FC turned it around in the second half with goals from Miku (63rd minute) and Sunil Chhetri in added time.
Chennaiyin FC were reduced to 10 men in the 71st minute after Henrique Sereno picked up his second booking.
Bengaluru surged ahead early. After some neat play down the right, Harmanjot Khabra’s deep cross towards the far post found Sunil Chettri, who headed it down for Haokip to push it into the net, and the midfielder did so sliding the ball through the legs of Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.
The visitors could have easily doubled their lead given the number of opportunities they created in the first 30 minutes of the game. Albert Roca’s men were finding their way to the opposition byline with easy. But as it is in football, you often get punished for not taking your chances, and that’s what happened.
In the 33rd minute, Francisco brought Chennaiyin FC back on level terms with a headed goal. Jerry Lalrinzuala put in a zipping cross into the box from the left and the Goan midfielder got himself between two Bengaluru FC centrebacks to thump the ball into the top right hand of Gurpreet Singh’s goal.
In the second half, John Gregory’s side took the game to the visitors but it were Bengaluru FC who regained the lead in the 63rd minute. The visitor’s top scorer Miku was on hand to bundle the ball across the goal-line after Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper Karanjit Singh parried Chettri’s shot at the near post into the Venezuelan’s path.
Seven minutes later, things got from bad to worse for the home side. Henrique Sereno was dismissed after picking up his second yellow card for a foul on Miku. The home side looked headed for a second consecutive defeat but they were soon handed a lifeline when the referee pointed to the spot for Harmanjyot Khabra’s foul on Dhanpal Ganesh inside the box.
Chennaiyin FC top scorer this season, Jeje Lalpekhlua, took the responsibility from the spot only to be denied by Singh in Bengaluru’s goal.
In added time, Bengaluru added a third to finish the tie through Chettri after Udanta Singh laid the ball for his captain to score his ninth goal.