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

Bengaluru FC score emphatic win over Churchill

Sunil Chhetri celebrates his goal

Sunil Chhetri celebrates his goal

Bengaluru FC turned on the style in an emphatic second-half performance as they stayed on top of the table with a 3-0 win over Churchill Brothers at the Bangalore Football Stadium, in Bangalore, on Saturday.

A Robin Singh strike sandwiched between a Sunil Chhetri double in the second half showed the resilience that Ashley Westwood’s side possesses after the Blues were being written off post the 3-2 loss to Rangdajied United last week in Shillong.

Just like the away leg at Goa, Bengaluru got off to an unusually sedate start and didn’t look like troubling the visitors who had their fair share of possession. The only clear chance Bengaluru FC had was headed straight to ’keeper Arindam Bhattacharya by Sean Rooney who was picked out with a fantastic Rino Anto cross.

Westwood used the half-time talk to challenge his big players, asking them to step up and they responded to the tee. The gaffer pulled out Beikhokhei Beingaichho and threw in Robin just before the half to inject life into the Bengaluru attack – a move that worked perfectly.

Chhetri scored the first of his pair in the 56th minute and it came from sheer instinct for opportunity. Robin sent one in for Rooney whose shot bounced off the ’keeper and fell loose. The skipper, lurking nearby, pounced and tapped home the opener.

The second came just five minutes later out of a nothing chance. Keegan Pereira picked out Robin from deep inside the BFC half and the striker rose to head past last man Sanjay Balmuchu before chasing the ball and putting it past a hapless Bhattacharya. Bengaluru found their stride and they wouldn’t let the momentum drop after that.

Westwood brought in CK Vineeth for Rooney and the new boy almost got his first BFC goal when Robin sent in a cross from the left that Vineeth failed to latch on to by a whisker. Minutes later, Vineeth repaid the favour, setting up Robin from a tight angle but the striker smashed his shot high.

Not content with a 2-0 lead, Bengaluru were all over Churchill and Chhetri was at hand to tap home again in the 89th minute. Failing to hold on to a strike by Robin, Bhattacharya’s save fell to Chhetri who took his time and calmly slotted home before going to the ’keeper and patting his head to acknowledge his effort.

The win takes Bengaluru to 34 points from 18 games while Churchill’s quest for survival was handed a severe blow.