The 80th match of the Hero Indian Super League saw Bengaluru FC face off against SC East Bengal at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, and the Blues finally winning a game in 2021. It also saw them finally end their 8-match winless streak and goodness would they be relieved. They triumphed over SC East Bengal 2-0 in a match which saw a very mediocre performance from the Red and Golds, and the first half eventually deciding the fate of the match.
The match started off in equal footing with both the teams making attempts at goal within the first 10 minutes. Sunil Chhetri lobbed a cross for Leon Augustin who managed to get a touch with his left foot but the ball went above the crossbar. 3 minutes later, Bright Enobakhare sent a nicely timed ball into the box for Harmanpreet Singh but the latter was denied by some tight defending by Ajith Kumar.
But the deadlock was broken soon after in the 11th minute with a brilliant goal from Cleiton Silva. Sunil Chhetri headed Gurpreet Singh Sandu‘s freekick towards Cleiton Silva and the latter scored it on a brilliant half volley.
The match then slowly turned towards the Blues who simply dominated from then on. Sunil Chhetri kept impressing the audience with his brilliant touches and ever involved nature of play. He kept creating chances and attempts at goal as the Red and Golds struggled to find momentum throughout the first half.
Disaster struck the SC East Bengal camp when they let the Blues double their lead with an own goal. Rahul Bheke entered the penalty box from the right flank with good skill and crossed it to Parag Srivas, the substitute, which the latter fired into the crossbar. The ball then ricocheted off the sidebar to the back of goalkeeper Debjit Majumder‘s feet and into the goal in a manner which could be termed as nothing but heaps of bad luck.
The second half then went underway but even as there were plenty of opportunities created by both teams, especially the Blues, none were actually converted. In the 69th minute, Aaron Amadi-Holloway received a pass from Scott Neville inside the box and bypassed Fran Gonzalez. However, Gurpreet collected the ball to keep it out of danger.
Sunil Chhetri created some great opportunities in the 85th minute. He tried to score from the mistake of Rana Gharami, only to be denied by the crossbar.
In the 89th minute, Gopi Singh picked a through from Holloway on the right end and crossed to Anthony Pilkington, He attempted a header but it went wide, denying any chance of a late comeback. The match ended with a scoreline of 2-0. After 11 matches, Bengaluru FC managed to keep a clean sheet tonight.
Hero of the Match: Sunil Chhetri:
The award for the DHL Winning Pass of the Match went to Rahul Bheke for his assist and the Hero of the Match went to none other than Sunil Chhetri for his tireless performance on the pitch today, with multiple attempts at goal and superb leadership.
SC East Bengal would be very disappointed with their effort on the pitch today as they could not attain their usual flow, and they would attempt to turn their fate in their next match against Jamshedpur FC on 7th February as it is drawing towards the business end of the league. Bengaluru FC, on the other hand, would be very pleased with their effort today and would want to go on ahead with the form they found today, as they face Chennaiyin FC on the 5th of February.