Bengaluru FC suffered their second straight defeat of the season after Stephen Eze’s goal (79’) gave Jamshedpur FC a win that saw them leapfrog the Blues to third position on the table, at the Fatorda Stadium, on Monday. It was a game that Bengaluru should have buried in a frenetic first half, instead they were left to rue a host of missed chances to stick the ball into the back of the net.
Carles Cuadrat made two changes to his side ahead of kick-off as Kristian Opseth and Suresh Wangjam came into the team, with Deshorn Brown dropping to the bench and Udanta Singh sitting this game out. Eighteen-year-old Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, meanwhile, was included in the match day squad for the first time. The visitors made one change from their last match, with Mohammad Mobashir coming into the starting eleven and Isaac Vanmalsawma named as a substitute.
The Blues’ first chance of the game, and the first shot on target, came in the third minute. Alexandre Lima brought down Suresh at the edge of the box, and Opseth’s resulting free-kick was curled well around the wall and was dipping into the bottom corner before an outstretched TP Rehenesh pushed it away for a corner.
Six minutes later, the Blues breached the Jamshedpur defence once again. Suresh won the ball in the middle of the park and drove towards the box. Chhetri matched his strides and the midfielder’s through ball was slightly behind the skipper, forcing Chhetri to adjust his run before taking a shot – which was deflected behind for a corner. From the resulting corner, Chhetri saw his header loop past the crossbar.
The visitor’s first attack of the game came in the 18th minute. Nerijus Valskis was found unmarked in the box and Rahul Bheke’s sliding tackle took the ball off the Lithuanian’s boots.
Their first shot on target came with a quarter of the hour gone. A long throw found Stephen Eze but Harmanjot Khabra and Erik Paartalu did enough to make sure his header had no power on it and it was an easy catch for Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
The Blues almost broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute. Suresh and Cleiton Silva found themselves 2-vs-1 against Rehenesh. The Indian pulled it back to the Brazilian but the ’keeper came off his line quickly to make a save before punching away the rebound.
Brought back into the starting eleven tonight, Suresh was making the best of the opportunity by being heavily involved in every move the Blues made. He had another run into the box in the 37th minute and this time he chose to test the ‘keeper, who made another good save to deny the hosts.
Gurpreet was called into action a minute before halftime. Jackichand Singh turned Laldinliana Renthlei’s cross towards the goal and the ‘keeper got his gloves to the ball, forcing it into the ground and bouncing over the bar.
The restart was a more subdued affair, with both teams being cautious in throwing everyone behind their attacks. In the 56th minute, Jackichand poked Laldinliana’s cross towards goal but it lacked any pace and sailed into Gurpreet’s hands.
Seconds later, Juanan’s cross-field pass found Chhetri, who made a fantastic run into the box from the right, but the ball sailed past his outstretched leg for a goal kick.
Two minutes after the hour mark, Gurpreet made a reflexive save on the goalline to deny Peter Hartley. Eze’s effort from the rebound was off target.
The Nigerian defender, however, managed to find a way past Gurpreet’s gloves in the 78th minute. Aniket’s cross was met by Eze and his diving header put the visitors 1-0 on the night.
Looking to find the equaliser, Carles brought on Edmund and debutant Ajith Kumar. The Blues were whiskers away from an equaliser in the final minutes of the game when well into extra time, Cleiton saw his free kick curl past the post. The visitors managed to hold firm to take all three points.
The Blues are next in action when they host Mumbai City FC at the Fatorda Stadium on January 5, 2021.