Bengaluru FC endured another frustrating night, this time at the Nehru Stadium, in Chennai, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Chennai City FC on Wednesday. A second-half own-goal from John Johnson had given Chennai the lead only for Daniel Lalhlimpuia to equalize on a night when the Blues rued missed chances.
Albert Roca made changes to the side that beat Minerva Punjab FC 1-0 in Ludhiana over the weekend, choosing to start with Daniel, Mandar ahead of CK Vineeth and Jugovic.
Bengaluru had Chennai on the ropes from the get-go when Mandar saw his header from a cross, kept out by Karanjit Singh in the 4th minute. Daniel then had a shot on target kept out by Celesitine Echezona as the Blues attacked from all over the pitch. Sunil Chhetri too saw an attempt on goal from an Udanta cutback, saved.
But for all of Bengaluru’s authority on the game, it was Chennai who found themselves with the lead in the 53rd minute when John Johnson headed a seemingly harmless cross from Nandhakumar on the right and watched in horror as it flew past Arindam Bhattacharya and into the Blues’ net.
A quick response was what Bengaluru needed and they found one within five minutes of conceding. Sent on a chase he won down the right, Udanta’s cross was pushed away by Karanjit Singh only to fall at Daniel’s feet and the striker calmly shot home the equaliser.
Sensing the need to build on the momentum, Roca brought on striker Marjan Jugovic for Mandar Rao Dessai as the Blues relentlessly pressed for a second. They came agonizingly close in the 63rd minute when Juanan saw a header from a corner saved off the line by Debabrata Roy.
Nishu Kumar then saw two delightful low crosses roll across the face of the goal with no Bengaluru body close enough to get a foot on them. Looking to shake things up a little, Roca made his final two changes in quick succession, replacing Cameron Watson and Daniel with Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Vineeth.
Bengaluru then had a shout for handball turned down deep into injury time but the Blues’ best chance of the half came when Lyngdoh’s looped free-kick into the area was nodded into a dangerous area for Dharmaraj Ravanan to clear off the line in what was to be the last action of the night.
The Blues next face Mohun Bagan at the Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday.
(Bengaluru FC Press Release)