Indian football action resumes in the state of Goa and Saturday saw Ashley Westwood’s Bengaluru FC get the better of Salgaocar FC in match 2 of the Hero I-League 2016. The Blues registered a hard-fought 2-1 victory against their Goan opponents at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco da Gama. Goals from CK Vineeth and Sunil Chhetri summed up Bengaluru’s win while Darryl Duffy scored a penalty for the home team.
First half: Vineeth scores early goal, Duffy scores from the spot to equalize
A number of key contests were lined up ahead of this game as both teams consisted of some of the best names in the I-League. The best player of last year’s edition, Jackichand Singh was brought into the Salgaocar squad following Royal Wahingdoh’s exit from the league. He was pitted against his ISL teammate Eugeneson Lyngdoh of Bengaluru FC who was named the best midfielder of the tournament. Another key contest was between Sunil Chhetri and Darryl Duffy, strikers who have been an inseparable part of their respective starting squads.
Bengaluru FC got off to a brisk start and were able to shoot into lead early in the 4th minute. A smart pass from North Korean attacker Kim Seng Yong found CK Vineeth and the latter comfortably put the ball into the left corner of the goal. Salgaocar keeper Karanjit Singh was on his toes throughout the first half as he was tested by the Bengaluru attackers. Eugeneson Lyngdoh had the best of chances in the 27th minute when he perfectly positioned himself in the 6-yard box in order to meet Thoi Singh’s cross. The attacking midfielder looked to put the ball past the keeper but Karanjit was sharp enough to put the ball out of play.
Minutes before half-time, Jackichand Singh looked to threaten the opposition with a blazing strike at the Bengaluru FC goal. However, the ball was tipped over the crossbar by Lalthuammawia Ralte. In another such goal scoring attempt, Jackichand was tackled by Lyngdoh inside the box and Salgaocar were awarded a crucial penalty. Darryl Duffy made no mistake in tapping home the equalizer and the score remained 1-1 at half-time.
Sunil Chhetri opens his account in the I-League with a brilliant free-kick:
The Blues looked to dominate the second half by having more ball possession and were pretty much successful in doing so. The defenders John Johnson, Curtis Osano, Keegan Pereira and Rino Anto did well to keep the Salgaocar attackers at bay, Jackichand Singh in particular. 15 minutes into the second half, Bengaluru FC wereawarded a free-kick and Sunil Chhetri decided to have a go at this one. The Indian captain executed his 20-yard shot to perfection as he dipped the ball over the defenders’ wall, into the goal. Interestingly, this was Chhetri’s first goal off a free-kick in his stint at Bengaluru FC.
Bengaluru FC missed two chances of putting the outcome of the game beyond the home side’s reach in the final five minutes. First up, Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Udanta Singh executed a smart one-two move but the former erred in landing the knockout punch as his shot lacked power. In another event, second-half substitute Seiminlen Doungel’s shot was blocked by Karanjit Singh. At full-time, Bengaluru FC walked away with 3 points and joined Mohun Bagan at the top of the table.
Bengaluru FC 2 (CK Vineeth 4′, Sunil Chhetri 60′) beat Salgaocar FC 1 (Darryl Duffy 39′ PEN)