Sivasakthi’s brace guides Bengaluru to a 3-1 win over Chennaiyin 

Sivasakthi Narayanan of Bengaluru struck a brace against Chennaiyin

Bengaluru moved to the sixth spot in the points table of ISL 2022-23 after a 3-1 win over Chennaiyin at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. Sivasakthi Narayanan struck a brace while Rohit Kumar scored the other goal for the home side. Edwin Vanspaul’s goal in the second half acted as a mere consolation. 

Bengaluru fielded themselves in a 3-5-2 formation with Gurpreet Singh Sandhu donning the gloves. Alan Costa, Sandesh Jhingan, and Parag Shrivas formed the back three with Naorem Mahesh Singh and Prabir Das operating as the wing-backs.

Suresh Wangjan, Rohit Kumar, and Javier Hernandez played as the three central midfielders feeding balls to strikers Sivasakthi Narayanan and Roy Krishna. 

Chennaiyin, on the other hand, entered the field with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Samik Mitra guarded the sticks while Akash Sangwan, Vafa Hakhamaneshi, Fallou Diagne, and V Ajith Kumar played as the defenders in front of them. 

Julius Duker and Jiteshwor Singh acted as the two defensive midfielders in front of them while the trio of Vincy Barretto, Anirudh Thapa, and Ninthoinganba Meetei played as the attacking midfielders. Petar Sliskovic acted as the lone striker. 

Roy Krishna lobbed a pass towards Sivasakthi in Bengaluru’s own half in the 14th minute and the latter burst through the wings with acres of space in front of him in a counter-attack. With no one able to track him down, Sivasakthi fired the ball low past the reach of the keeper to break the deadlock. 

Ninthoi’s cross from the left flank in the 21st minute almost levelled the scoreline as Sliskovic’s header was inches above the crossbar. Jiteshwor failed to control a back pass and Sivasakthi pounced on the loose ball to find himself in a one-on-one position with the keeper. The youngster netted his fourth goal of the season with a calm finish in the 24th minute. 

Rohit Kumar was quick to reach a pass from the goalkeeper Samik Mitra towards Julius Duker and slotted the ball home to make it 3-0 for Bengaluru in the 30th minute. 

Sivasakthi nearly completed his hat-trick in the dying embers of the first half when Javi Hernandez sent him through with a defense-splitting pass. Samik came out of his line to clear the ball but kicked it straight into the body of Sivasakthi. However, the latter’s final shot was blocked by Fallou Diagne. 

Edwin Vanspaul pulled one goal back for Chennaiyin in the 59th minute after accepting a pass from Jiteshwor Singh. The local Tamil Nadu lad blasted the ball into the roof of the net after rounding off his marker. 

Sliskovic found the ball in his foot and unleashed a shot from inside the box in the 68th minute but it flew past the crossbar. Chennaiyin once again knocked on Bengaluru’s doors in the 77th minute when Kwame Karikari swung in a low cross towards the centre. The ball found Ninthoinganba Meetei whose half-volley was thwarted away by Gurpreet. 

In the 85th minute, Bruno Ramires let loose a piledriver from a rebound towards the goal. But, Samik Mitra positioned himself perfectly to palm it away. The full-time scoreline read 3-1 as Bengaluru won their fourth game in a row. With 22 points from 16 games, the Blues occupy the sixth spot although they have played a match more than seventh-placed Odisha. 

Chennaiyin remains in the eighth spot with the defeat as they have 17 points from 15 games. They will next face Odisha on Thursday as the race for the six playoff spots tightens in February. Bengaluru, on the other hand, will square off against ATK Mohun Bagan on Sunday with all their remaining matches coming against teams inside the top six of the table.