Kochi: Former Venezuelan international Miku netted twice while Sunil Chhetri scored one from the spot as Bengaluru crushed Kerala Blasters 3-1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here in Sunday.
Star man Iain Hume got his much awaited start for the ‘Yellow Army’ but it was custodian Subhashish Roy who starred for the Kochi based side pulling out some heroic saves to keep the deficit to two goals.
Called into action more often than expected, the former ATK goalkeeper kept Kerala in the contest in a game completely dominated by Albert Roca’s men.
Blooming with confidence after snatching a hard fought draw against Chennaiyin FC away from home, it was the Blasters who controlled the proceedings early on and could have gone ahead twice in the opening few minutes.
With more regular first team chances coming his away after Dimitar Berbatov injured himself, it was Mark Sifneos who could have broken the deadlock in the 35th minute after a well-executed Wes Brown lob over the Bengaluru defence found him in an one-on-one situation. But with only Gurpreet Singh to beat, the Dutchman failed to connect with the delivery.
Meanwhile, Bengaluru slowly grew in confidence as the half wore on and put one inside the net only to be ruled offiside. A Chhetri double strike was palmed away by an alert Roy as the first-half drew to an end, with ‘The Blues’ unlucky not to have gone forward.
Resuming from the break the game moulded into the same flow as it had ended, with Chhetri once again testing Roy in the 50th minute. But ten minutes later, a hand-ball by Sandesh Jhingan gave Bengaluru a chance to take the lead from the spot and the Indian captain didn’t disappoint this time giving his side an important lead at the one hour mark.
Kerala came close on few occasions but missed the natural vigour and poaching instinct of local boy CK Vineeth as Hume cut out a frustrating figure more for lack of chances.
However, with six goals from 12 shots on target this season Miku didn’t let his hard work go in vain as he scored twice in as many minutes to end all hopes of a ‘Yellow Army’ comeback.
Edu Garcia’s through-ball found the striker’s clever in behind the Kerala defence and he needed only a couple of touches before finding the net. Barley a minute later he nutmegged the Kerala captain before slotting it past a hapless Roy to take his tally to eight goals in the season.
The drama was far from over as Courage Pekuson scored a late consolation goal for the Blasters in the final minute of extra-time bringing some relief among the fans, who left home disappointed.
The win also consolidated Bengaluru’s position in the third place with 15 points from eight matches, just a point and two notches behind toppers Chennaiyin FC, while Kerala remained at eight position with seven points from a match less.