Bengaluru Football Club scripted yet another chapter in their history with a fifth title in as many years as they beat East Bengal Club 4-1 to lift the 2018 Hero Super Cup title at the Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar, on Friday. Ansumnah Kromah (28’) had given East Bengal the lead, but goals from Rahul Bheke (39), Sunil Chhetri (69’ penalty, 90’) and Miku (71’) gave the Blues a deserved victory
Having dabbled with the shape the team takes through the tournament, Roca was boosted by the return of defenders Juanan and Rahul Bheke returned as he rolled out a 4-3-3 as Miku, Udanta and Chhetri started up front.
The Blues survived early threats as when Kromah was sent free on a long ball in the eighth minute. Gurpreet rattled into Johnson trying to clear the ball which bounced awkwardly and with Kromah going down the referee booked the Bengaluru custodian.
Half chances were aplenty at either end, but it was East Bengal who broke the deadlock midway through the first half. Katsumi’s corner was palmed away by Gurpreet and as it bounced in the box, Kromah acrobatically hit the ball which looped into an empty goal, past the attempted clearance of Erik Paartalu.
Having fallen back, the Blues picked themselves up and pushed up with vigor. Their persistence was rewarded when Bheke equalized with a thumping header on Victor Perez’s curling corner in from the right in the 39th minute. Victor who provided the assist had a glorious chance himself to put Bengaluru in the lead minutes later when Miku sent him through in the box with a perfect ball on the right. But the Spaniard’s chip over East Bengal custodian Ubaid CK floated agonizingly wide at the far post.
The game took another twist with East Bengal being reduced to ten-men in first half injury time after defender Samad Mallick was sent off by referee Ramaswamy Srikrishna for an intentional slap on Subhasish Bose.
With the man disadvantage, East Bengal began the second period cautiously and Roca brought in Toni Dovale to replace Paartalu looking to add more attacking impetus. After Miku’s efforts were blocked by the rival ‘keeper in the 67th minute, a quickfire double from the Blues just moments later turned the tie in their favour.
First it was Chhetri who put Bengaluru 2-1 up with a calm penalty kick conversion in the 69th minute after defender Gurwinder Singh handled Subhasish’s cross inside the box. Two minutes later it was Miku who smashed home Victor’s through ball from just inside the box after the latter combined with Dovale.
Chhetri sealed the game in the final minute of the second half with his second goal of the evening, heading home Bheke’s floated delivery in from the right to clinch a fifth trophy for Bengaluru in as many years.