Bengaluru FC climbed to the second spot in the standings with an easy 2-0 win against Jamshedpur FC on Thursday at the Kanteerava Stadium.
Erik Paartalu (8') scored from a corner before Sunil Chhetri (63') doubled the lead and secured the three points for his side. Jamshedpur lacked a goalscoring threat and struggled to make an impact for most parts of the game.
Carles Cuadrat benched Udanta Singh after a series of poor shows this season. Manuel Onwu made his way into the line-up and had Ashique Kuruniyan, Sunil Chhetri alongside him on the right and left side respectively. The Men of Steel were bolstered by the inclusion of Noe Acosta and David Grande.
The hosts started the game on the front foot and went ahead as early as the eighth minute. Dimas Delgado whipped in a delicious delivery from the corner and Paartalu nodded it in to make it 1-0.
Bengaluru were provided with an opportunity to double their lead just two minutes later, with Ashique finding himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper. But Subrata Paul came off his line to make a brave save and deny the youngster.
The visitors barely created chances in the first half and were left chasing the ball for most parts. But new-signing Serrano enjoyed a personal highlight when he launched a perfectly weighted through-ball to Farukh Choudhary in the 38th minute. But Ashique tracked back in time and put in a crucial block and prevented Jamshedpur from changing the scoreline.
The visitors adopted a more proactive approach in the opening minutes of the second half. They were taking the fight to Bengaluru and were not hesitant to push higher up the field. This left them vulnerable on the counter and it was not surprising that this was exactly how the first chance of the half was created.
Ashique burst into space, dribbled past Jamshedpur bodies, exchanged passes with Onwu and pulled the trigger. But the shot was just wide off the far post.
At the other end, Gaurav Mukhi sped into space after getting in behind the Bengaluru defence. But Juanan Gonzalez managed an incredible last-ditch tackle to preserve his clean-sheet.
Moments later in the 63rd minute, Paartalu provided an incredible long ball to find Chhetri drifting in from the opposite flank. The skipper controlled it with his head, rounded the keeper in the process and slotted it home to put the result beyond doubt.
The hosts had no problems holding on to the lead for the remainder of the game and walked away with all three points.