Chennaiyin stunned by Bengaluru

Panaji: Bengaluru FC (BFC) got its first win of the season, notching up a 1-0 victory in a heated affair with arch-rival Chennaiyin FC (CFC) in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 at the GMC Stadium here on Friday.

A 56th-minute penalty by Sunil Chhetri was the difference between the two teams as Chennaiyin suffered its first loss. The match was off to a physical start, with Anirudh Thapa left limping in the fifth minute after a clash of heels with Ashique Kuruniyan.

The latter picked up a yellow card two minutes later for going in rough on Deepak Tangri. Then came a big blow for CFC. Thapa had initially continued after his clash with Ashique, but by the 16th minute he was asking to come off. Chennaiyin head coach Csaba Laszlo had to replace him with Edwin Sydney Vanspaul.

Bengaluru began to take the upper hand after Thapa’s exit. Around the half-hour mark, Cleiton Silva found Rahul Bheke unmarked inside the box, but his header was off target. Seven minutes later, Juanan had a chance to head in from Silva’s cross, but only managed to divert it into Chennaiyin goalkeeper Vishal Kaith’s hands.

The second period started with a flurry of fouls, free-kicks and yellow cards.

Rafael Crivellaro, Suresh Wangjam and Reagan Singh went into the book early on while both teams wasted free-kicks from good positions. However, in the 54th minute, Chennaiyin committed one foul too much.

Edwin lunged into Silva inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Kaith guessed correctly and dived to his right, but Chhetri’s penalty was inch-perfect. CFC dominated the final period, searching frantically for an equaliser. But it was unable to find a finish as Bengaluru held on for the win.