I-League: Chhetri’s strike sinks East Bengal

Kolkata, Jan 30 (IANS) A solitary goal from forward Sunil Chhetri and some heroics under the bar by debutant Amrinder Singh proved to be the difference between the two sides as Bengaluru FC beat city giants East Bengal 1-0 in an I-League encounter at the Barasat Stadium here on Saturday.

With this win, Bengaluru have consolidated their position at the top of the league table with 12 points from five games. East Bengal are third with eight points from five outings.

It was a cagey affair from the start with both sides managing a few snapshots in the opening few minutes of the contest.

The first real chance fell for the hosts in the 18th minute but attempts from Do Dong Hyun, Ranti Martins and Bikash Jairu were all blocked by the Bengaluru defence and goalkeeper Amrinder who was making his debut for the team from the south.

It was Martins again who came close but his strong shot fizzed just wide off the post. A few minutes later, Amrinder dived full stretch to deny another attempt from Martins. Bengaluru too had their chances but some poor finishing led to a goalless scoreline at the break.

After halftime, it was a more polished Bengaluru outfit which was on display. The passes were crisp and precise and Chhetri almost scored for his side but East Bengal custodian Rehenesh T.P. was quick to clear away the danger.

Hard work finally paid off for the visitors as at the hour mark they were able to break the deadlock with defender Rino Anto providing the assists for Chhetri. The former’s drop near the net found Robin Singh who managed to drag the ball till Chhetri. The Bengaluru captain produced a fine finsih, beating Rehenesh at the near post.

Jolted, the men in gold and red stepped on the gas and there were some very anxious moments for the Bengaluru defence.

In one such instance, Amrinder came to the rescue again thwarting away a strong attempt from Martins. The ball fell in the path of Jairu, who shot flew inches wide of the post.

Bengaluru coach Ashley Westwood brought in changes in the last few minutes of the game, ensuring time was wasted as the visitors held on to their one goal advantage till the end.

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