Bengaluru edge past Chennaiyin in a six-goal Southern Derby thriller
Bengaluru handed Chennaiyin a 4-2 drubbing in ‘Match 45’ of the 2021-22 Indian Super League season. Cleiton Silva, Alan Costa, Udanta Singh, and Pratik Chaudhari were on target for the Blues while Mirlan Murzaev and Rahim Ali got their names on the scoresheet for the Marina Machans.
Chennaiyin head coach Bozidar Bandovic was expected to make changes to his defense that conceded three goals against Kerala Blasters, but instead, he only made an attacking tweak by replacing Lallianzuala Chhangte with Ali.
On the other hand, Bengaluru’s Marco Pezzaiouli moved Ashqiue Kuruniyan to a forward role in Udanta’s place with Roshan Naorem playing as a left-back, while Jayesh Rane replaced Danish Farooq at the middle of the park.
The Marina Machans took only four minutes to open the scoring when Germanpreet Singh found Mirlan Murzaev unmarked with a fantastic long ball from the deep. While the delivery was precise, the Kyrgyz attacked also deserves his fair share of credit for calmly slotting his shot past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in the Bengaluru goal.
Chennaiyin should have increased their lead further in the 17th minute when Ali got two guilt-edged chances in a short span. Murzaev threaded a perfect pass for the Indian youngster but his first effort was saved well by Gurpreet, while hardly a minute later, he failed to tuck in a cross from the left flank.
Bengaluru’s first big chance came in the 20th minute when a corner found Parag Shrivas unmarked, but the central defender failed to find the back of the net from a handshaking distance. Shrivas’ guilt could have easily been doubled, as in the next minute Ali darted down the left flank again, but for the second time on the night, he was denied a goal by Gurpreet.
The Blues dominated the second phase of the first half and their perseverance was rewarded by the Chennaiyin full-back Reagan Singh in the 37th minute when he handled a Kuruniyan cross inside the box. Brazilian striker Cleiton Silva converted the resulting penalty to restore parity in the match.
The goal-scorer became the provider four minutes later when his corner was tucked home by fellow Brazilian Alan Costa with a dreadful goalkeeping howler by the Marina Machans goalkeeper Vishal Kaith costing the team.
Bandovic’s team started the second half with renewed zeal and like the first half, they took only four minutes to open the scoring. Murzaev collected a ball near the edge of the box and pulled it back for Ali who became third time lucky as Gurpreet made a mess of a weak effort which was directed straight at him.
However, they missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when skipper Anirudh Thapa put in a delightful cross but both Murzaev and substitute Lukasz Gikiewicz failed to get behind the delivery.
Following the same pattern, Bengaluru made Chennaiyin pay for their missed opportunities in the 70th minute. One substitute in Danish did well to find another substitute, Udanta in space down the right-wing and the India international proved his mettle by finding the bottom corner, making it 3-2 for the Blues.
Pezzaiouli certainly showed his caliber as well, as four minutes after Udanta’s strike, another substitute in Pratik Chaudhary made it 4-2 for the Blues. The Chennaiyin custodian failed to catch a simple corner for the second time on the night and the ball kindly fell to Chaudhary, who could not miss a simple tap-in from three yards out.
The Blues have taken a two-place leap with this win and are now placed at the eighth position. The 2018-19 ISL champions face East Bengal in their next assignment on Tuesday while the sixth-placed Chennaiyin will face Jamshedpur on Sunday.