Bengaluru FC stretched their unbeaten run to eleven games in all competitions after goals from Miku (23’) and Sunil Chhetri (34’) gave the Blues a 2-0 win over Jamshedpur FC at the Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar, on Sunday. The win that took Albert Roca’s side to 37 points in a one-horse-race to pole position, meant the Blues have now beaten every team in the Indian Super League at least once.
Stressing the need to keep the winning momentum going, the Blues’ Spanish manager started with Miku, Chhetri and Udanta in attack and the trio took the game to the hosts in a matter of minutes.
Roca wore an exasperated look after Bengaluru floundered two big chances in the space of three minutes with the Jamshedpur defence all at sea. Antonio Dovale set Miku through with a fine pass and the Venezuelan’s cross for Sunil Chhetri flew past Subrata Paul, but the skipper couldn’t get a foot to it. Soon after it would be Miku with nowhere to look to after heading wide Udanta’s cross with Paul well beaten.
But the duo, who have been lethal together all season, would get shots at redemption in the first half itself that they would make count. Put through on goal by a ball from the middle, Miku rounded off Paul whose hand caught the striker’s leg prompting the referee to point to the spot. With his strike partner hot on the heels of FC Goa’s Ferran Corominas for the chase to the golden boot, Chhetri stepped back to let Miku face Paul and the striker put Bengaluru in the lead with a composed finish.
Having set the tempo, Bengaluru pushed Jamshedpur back and Udanta Singh came close on two occasions. Bengaluru earned a corner from one of Udanta’s attempts and Chhetri met Dimas Delgado’s take with a perfect header that he glanced beyond the reach of Paul to make it 2-0.
Miku had another chance soon after the restart when he was picked by a low Subhasish Bose cross in the box. The striker, with a deft touch, lost two of his markers but in his attempt to send it past Paul at the near post, Miku could only manage to ripple the outside of the net.
With three teams chasing Jamshedpur for that play-off spot, the hosts needed to claw back into the game and looked to threaten in attack on a few occasions in the second half. But another solid show by the Bengaluru defence and specifically Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in goal, kept any hint of danger at bay.
Towards the end of the game new-signing Daniel Segovia made his debut coming on as a substitute for goalscorer Miku in the 84th minute. Chhetri’s tenth goal of the season had a bit of history to it as he became the first Indian scorer in the ISL to reach double figures.
Bengaluru now host Kerala Blasters at home on March 1 in what will be their last game of the league stages.