Bengaluru FC continue their dominance over FC Goa as they recorded a 2-1 win in the first Indian Super League (ISL) fixture of the ongoing season at the Sree Kanteerava stadium in Bengaluru, Karnataka, on Friday.
Hugo Boumous' 61st minute equaliser for Goa wasn't enough as Sunil Chhetri's brace (59', 84') sealed the win for the Blues who have now defeated the Goans in five of their seven meetings.
Carles Cuadrat made one change to the Bengaluru side that was defeated 1-0 by ATK on Christmas day. Sergio Lobera's assistant Jesus Tato named an unchanged starting line-up from the Gaurs' win over Chennaiyin FC.
The visitors dominated the possession statistics, with very little of it coming in their own half. But it was Bengaluru who created the first big chance of the night when Nishu Kumar played Rahul Bheke with a delicious ball from the opposite flank. The right-back did well to get past Mandar Rao Desai and conjure an incredible shot from the edge of the box that demanded the best from Mohammad Nawaz.
At the other end, Ferran Corominas and Hugo Boumous were at the end of a couple of half-chances. The latter also managed to get a shot on target but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had to barely move to safeguard his posts.
Goa dominated most parts of the first half but had nothing to show for. Their best chance of the half arrived just before the break when Brandon Fernandes set Lenny Rodriguez one-on-one with the Bengaluru custodian with a defence-splitting ball. But the midfielder was unable to get around the keeper and make the best of the opportunity.
The second half saw Bengaluru step up a notch and create a level playing field against the Goans who dominated the first half. They created a couple of routine chances before opening the deadlock just before the hour mark.
Dimas Delgado delivered from the corner and a soaring Chhetri met it with his head from a good distance and got it past the line despite Nawaz getting his fingers to it.
But Carles Cuadrat’s men could not preserve the lead for more than two minutes. The visitors struck back with an aesthetically pleasing move that saw Boumous and Mandar exchange passes before the latter played it into Coro. The Spaniard slipped in Boumous with his first touch and the Frenchman restore parity with a neat strike.
Both sides created ample opportunities to keep the audience at the edge of their seats. But it was Bengaluru who took their chance on the counter and restored their lead. Dimas and Ashique Kuruniyan linked up on the break, with the latter setting up Chhetri through on goal.
The Bengaluru skipper pulled the trigger upon entering the box to slot it past Nawaz and earn his brace.
An engrossing game of football concluded with Goa failing to break their curse against the defending champions.