Chennai, Feb 6 (IANS) Bengaluru FC on Tuesday registered a comfortable 3-1 victory over Chennaiyin FC as they extended their lead at the top of the Hero Indian Super League table to seven points.
Boithang Haokip (second minute), Miku (63rd) and Sunil Chhetri (90+4) scored for Bengaluru. Second-placed Chennaiyin got their solo goal from Francis Fernandes in the 33rd minute at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Chennaiyin FC were reduced to 10 men in the 71st minute after Henrique Sereno picked up his second booking.
Bengaluru surged ahead early. After some neat play down the right, Harmanjot Khabra’s deep cross towards the far post found Chettri, who headed it down for Haokip, who slid the ball through the legs of Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.
The visitors could have easily doubled their lead given the number of opportunities they created in the first 30 minutes of the game with Albert Roca’s men finding their way to the opposition byline with ease.
Chennaiyin, however, got their equaliser when Jerry Lalrinzuala crossed into the box from the left and Goan midfielder Fernandes headed the ball into the top right hand of Gurpreet Singh’s goal.
In the second half, John Gregory’s side took the game to the visitors but it were Bengaluru FC who regained the lead in the 63rd minute. The visitor’s top scorer Miku was on hand to bundle the ball across the goal-line after Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper Karanjit Singh parried Chettri’s shot at the near post into the Venezuelan’s path.
Seven minutes later, things got from bad to worse for the home side. Sereno was dismissed after picking up his second yellow card for a foul on Miku.
The home side looked headed for a second consecutive defeat but they were soon handed a lifeline when the referee pointed to the spot for Khabra’s foul on Dhanpal Ganesh inside the box. Chennaiyin FC top scorer this season, Jeje Lalpekhlua, took the responsibility from the spot only to be denied by Gurpreet in Bengaluru’s goal.
In added time, Bengaluru added a third to finish the tie through Chettri after Udanta Singh laid the ball for his captain to score his ninth goal of the campaign as Bengaluru ran away with all the three points from the match.