Bengaluru, January 7: A great display of attacking play from title favourites Bengaluru FC handed them their first three points of I-League 2017. The defending champs clinched a comfortable 3-0 victory against a much inexperienced Shillong Lajong side. Right-winger Udanta Singh was the star of the night as he scored a goal in each of the halves. New recruit Sena Ralte also produced a beautiful strike to make it three for the home side.
Shillong show some fight in the first half, Udanta Singh strikes to bag crucial lead:
As more than 10,000 fans came together at the Shree Kanteerava Stadium in the heart of the city, Bengaluru FC sported a special pink jersey to join other citizens in solidarity with women and their safety. This was in reference to the mass molestation that took place on New Year’s eve in one of the city’s landmark areas. They also released a strong video message titled “We for Women”. Watch video here.
New signings Lenny Rodrigues, Harmanjot Khabra and Sena Ralte started for BFC on Sunday night. The visiting team saw as many as eight under-22 players drafted in the playing XI owing to injuries sustained by some key players in the recently concluded Indian Super League. Bengaluru took control of the game right from the beginning and enjoyed a good share of ball possession. For Shillong, Japanese midfielder Yuta Kinowaki seemed to be the only player who played without any pressure as the lack of experience could be clearly seen in the rest of the lineup.
The 26th minute saw Bengaluru FC draw first blood when Eugeneson Lyngdoh’s corner created a chaos in the Shillong box. Udanta Singh took advantage of the open post and slid one in past the goalkeeper. Three more chances followed for Bengaluru FC in the first half, the closest of all being skipper Sunil Chhetri’s shot which came off the goal post.
Udanta Singh doubles the lead, Sena Ralte rounds off victory with brilliant goal:
Bengaluru stepped up their game in the second half as they attacked relentlessly in the Lajong Half. The home side were brilliant with their passing and through-balls; defenders Juan Antonio Gonzalez and John Johnson were spot-on with their long balls. Udanta Singh scored his second goal in the 69th minute where he juggled past two defenders and belted the ball past Vishal Kaith, the Shillong keeper into the bottom left corner of the goal. Just ten minutes later, Sena Ralte was unmarked and he took advantage of the open space to fire in a grounded shot that extended the lead to three goals.
Bengaluru FC toyed with the Shillong defence and the second half hardly saw any attacks coming towards the Bengaluru half. Udanta Singh impressed one and all with his speed and skills and was complemented well by the midfielders Lenny Rodrigues and Eugeneson Lyngdoh. The final score read 3-0 which enabled Bengaluru FC pocket three points. They play Chennai City FC in their next game which is on January 14.
“We needed more sharpness in the game. Credit to Udanta Singh for performing so well, Bengaluru FC is the right place for youngsters to grow and the club has shown that by producing so many talented players over the last three years. We had 14 under-22 players in the team sheet today and it was a good experience for them playing against the defending champions. This is just the first game and we have a long season to play. “
-Thangboi Singto, Head Coach, Shillong Lajong FC
“A satisfying win. We had good control of the game right from the start and we created a lot of chances. The new signings did well and they have gelled with the team quickly. Chhetri was played in the left wing because he is so good that he can play anywhere. We would like to take advantage of his versatility and now we have Mandar Rao Dessai who can occupy the wing and Chhetri can come back to center-forward. Udanta is young, fast and very talented and he certainly has the potential to join the national team. The new joinees have brought in a lot of internal competition which is healthy for the team.”
– Albert Roca, Head Coach, Bengaluru FC