Second-half substitutes Roby Norales and CK Vineeth came off the bench and turned on the magic scoring in the 77th and 79th minutes, as Bengaluru FC went to the top of the I-League table with a 2-0 win over Chennai City FC at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Saturday.
Much had been written and said about the kind of squad depth Albert Roca’s Blues possessed this season and the claim was cemented when Norales and Vineeth came off to score on a night when Bengaluru should have finished the tie in the first-half, but for a mix of squandered chances and exceptional goalkeeping.
Roca rang in just the one change from the team that beat Lajong last weekend with Mandar Rao Dessai replacing Cameron Watson who was relegated to the bench with a stomach bug.
Refusing to take time to settle down, the Blues came close to an opener as early as the 6th minute when Chhetri’s attempt from an Udanta cross was put out by the Chennai defence. Striker Daniel Lalhlimpuia’s acrobatic attempt on the bounce was pushed away by ’keeper Karanjit Singh just minutes later.
In what was an inspired show of goalkeeping in the first half, Karanjit denied Daniel again, this time from a one-on-one situation, as the Blues held their heads in despair on the way to the dressing room.
Desperate to put away a game they had been dominating, Roca made two changes over the second-half, pulling off Dessai and handing Roby Norales a debut from off the bench and then introducing CK Vineeth for Lalhlimpuia.
And it were the changes that put an end to the Blues’ finishing woes, with Norales and Vineeth scoring in a space of three minutes to send Bengaluru up 2-0.
The Honduran striker made it a debut to remember when he stabbed home from close, as a frustrated Blues camp finally heaved a sigh of relief. Bengaluru’s second came only two minutes later when Udanta Singh sprinted down the right to latch on to a ball that he crossed perfectly for Vineeth to hit home on the volley.
Bengaluru next play Mumbai FC at the Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday, January 18.
(Bengaluru FC Press Release)