Sunil Chhetri and Roy Krishna find the back of the net as Bengaluru edges out Jamshedpur￼
A 10-men Bengaluru side defeated a young Jamshedpur 2-1 in Group A of the 131st Durand Cup, held at the Salt Lake Stadium in the City of Joy, Kolkata.
Sunil Chhetri, the Blues’ captain and talisman, opened the scoring early in the first half, with Roy Krishna doubling the lead in the second half courtesy of a Sunil assist.
Substitute Rishi pulled one goal back for his team with a free-kick, which was the result of a rash tackle by Blues defender Hira Mondal, which earned him a red card – the first in this season of the tournament.
Bengaluru got off to a fast start, creating a scoring chance that Danish Farooq scuffed after Leon Augustine cut back from the left wing. Along with Udanta Singh on the opposite wing, Augustine was impressive on the left flank.
Sunil then put Bengaluru ahead in the 23rd minute with a powerful header from a corner that was delivered by new signing Prabir Das. Soon after, Jamshedpur had a golden opportunity to equalise, which was squandered by Lenin Singh, who was outstanding in the middle of the park throughout the game. Vinil Poojary also came close to equalising from a corner in the 33rd minute.
Bengaluru’s midfield was dominated by Bruno Ramires and Suresh Singh, who provided constant passes to the frontline. The crowd was expecting Sunil Chhetri and star forward Roy Krishna, who had joined the Blues from ATK Mohun Bagan at the end of last season, to combine. The fans did not have to wait long though because both of them combined superbly to score Bengaluru’s second goal in the 56th minute.
Then came Hira’s dismissal and the Red Miners’ subsequent free kick, which came after a beautiful dead ball assist by Vikash Singh. Following the goal, Jamshedpur attempted to put Bengaluru under pressure, but the defense held firm, helped by some crucial saves from goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
Bengaluru decided the score line was enough and retreated with 10 men in the final minutes of the game. In the final minute, however, Parag was yellow carded for a foul near the corner flag, but from the resulting freekick, Phijam’s ball fell to Rishi’s head and went wide. With failing legs and tiring minds, Jamshedpur youngsters tried everything, but Bengaluru held on for the win and much-needed three points.
Bengaluru will next play the Indian Air Force on August 23rd, while Jamshedpur will play Mohammedan on August 21.