Bengaluru 0-0 Chennaiyin: Sandhu show ensures 1-point for Bengaluru FC

Sunil Chhetri-Bengaluru FC

The 83rd match of the Hero Indian Super League ended the way it started 0-0, as Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC fought hard but in futile. After their stomping of the Red and Golds on Tuesday 2-0, the Blues were unable to carry on their form to this match and gave away a lot of chances to Chennaiyin FC. Fortunately for them, they were out of luck and the chances could not be converted. 

The Blues ought to be more careful now especially because it’s getting to the business end of the tournament and each point counts. Chennaiyin FC on the other hand asserted dominance in the pitch throughout the game. Thanks to the unrelenting performance by their goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, the Blues did not concede any, and it was because of his efforts that they could end the game with a point in their kitty.

The match started off very energetic and the first real chance came in the 6th minute. Esmael Goncalves gathered the ball from the midfield and ran past three Blues players before unleashing a thunderous strike. However, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was present there to make glorious diving save, his first among many of the night.

The Marina Machans were on the throttle as they got another goalscoring opportunity in the 11th minute. An exceptional cross from Anirudh Thapa found Lallianzuala Chhangte at a dangerous position inside the penalty box. But it was too much for the latter to convert into a goal, but we saw amazing effort nevertheless.

The first real chance for the Blues came 34 minutes into the game as captain Sunil Chhetri found the ball in a good position just inside the box. Eli Sabia somehow managed to thwart it away from the goal with a masterful example of in-box defending.

Meanwhile, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu kept on making glorious saves to deny the Chennaiyin attack. Shots from Lallianzuala Chhangte and Manuel Lanzarote were denied in quick succession to secure the 0-0 score while going into halftime.

The second half saw more action from both teams as Chennaiyin FC kept attacking and the Blues kept creating short bursts of counter-attacking movements. Parag Srivas gave away a freekick in a dangerous position just outside the penalty area and Manuel Lanzarote’s resulting freekick was tipped away by Sandhu, yet again saving a vital goal for his team.

Perhaps the match’s most important save came around in the 60th minute as Sandhu yet again denied Esmael Goncalves’ straight shot from point-blank. Manuel Lanzarote did well to provide a golden opportunity for his team but Sandhu was just too good for them tonight. 

The Blues were finding it really difficult to get into any sort of flow because of repeated defensive errors they kept committing as their rivals kept battering in shots towards goal. In the 78th minute, this time it was Chhangte’s attempt off of Esmael’s pass to slot it goalwards but the ever-present Sandhu denied them once again. By this point, all were mesmerised by the goalie’s positioning and blocking skills as we lost count of his saves.

Perhaps the last chance for a result was lost as Memo Moura‘s freekick was spectacular, to say the least, and it even managed to go past the reach of Sandhu in the goal post. Still, it went straight to hit the woodwork and went off. Just like Chennaiyin FC’s luck today- so close yet so far.

Hero of the Match: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

For his brilliant near-assists, Manuel Lanzarote received the DHL Winning Pass of the Match Award. And for his stellar performance in the goalpost, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was given the Hero of the Match Award tonight.

With one point from this match, Bengaluru FC now has 19 points from 16 matches. They are now in the 6th place and will face ATK Mohun Bagan on 9th February. Chennaiyin FC is in the 8th place now, with 17 points from 16 matches. They will face Jamshedpur FC on 10th February where they will need a win to come back in the race for the knock-out stage.