CPD FOOTBALL | THE BLOG | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Bengaluru FC bounce back in style

I-League: Royal Wahingdoh FC v Bengaluru FC

I-League: Royal Wahingdoh FC v Bengaluru FC

Written off and questioned by critics over a slow start in their defence of the I-League title, Bengaluru FC couldn’t have chosen a better stage and score line with which to make a statement. Up against leaders Royal Wahingdoh FC in adverse Shillong weather, Bengaluru FC turned on the style to come away 4-0 winners at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday.

CK Vineeth scored his first goal for the Blues – a perfectly placed header in the 34th minute before an impeccable Eugeneson Lyngdoh finish. Thoi Singh then helped himself to an eight minute brace as Bengaluru picked their first win in the hill city.

While the Blues would take a one-nil win as happily, the big score and clean sheet will work as the perfect injection of confidence before the key trip to Malaysia where they play Johor Darul Ta’zim on February 4.

Ashley Westwood handed starts to Vineeth, Thoi and Lalchhuanmawia and the trio vindicated the gaffer’s decision. While Vineeth rose to nod home a Rino-Anto cross, Lalchhuanmawia picked out Lyngdoh with a peach of a ball which the midfielder brought down with class before calmly placing the ball on ’keeper Nikhil Bernard’s right. Thoi’s brace included a poacher’s goal and a cultured finish after running with the ball from the half line.

Coming into the game on the back of three consecutive wins, Wahingdoh had chances of their own but were denied by either resolute defending or the woodwork on three occasions. Striker Kim Yong Song was in the thick of things often but John Johnson and Curtis Osano did enough to keep him at bay. Johnson had a header of his own kept out brilliantly by Bernard in the first half.

Westwood had denied a presence of pressure in his pre-match press conference and the boys gave enough advertisement of the fact. The win takes Bengaluru to sixth position on the table and Westwood will be keen to keep the momentum going when the team returns from Malaysia to host Bharat FC (February 8) and Shillong Lajong (February 14) in Bengaluru.