Bengaluru, Oct 01: In the inaugural match of the 2018-19 seasons, Bengaluru FC beat defending champions Chennaiyin FC (1-0) at the Sree Kanteerava stadium here on Sunday. Bengaluru FC’s Miku's 41st minute strike was the sole goal in the match. Miku later adjudged the ‘Hero of the match’.
The defending champions, Chennaiyin FC won in ball possession in the match but failed to turn it into goals. It was almost unbelievable for a team such as Chennaiyin FC to miss two gild-edge chances to take the lead. Sunil Chhetri, Miku and Udanta Singh form a formidable threesome in the Bengaluru attack that is going to test the opposing defences in this tournament.
Bengaluru got an excellent chance as early as the third minute. It came from the confusion in the Chennaiyin box following a throw-in by Rahul Bheke. The loose ball fell to the Australian midfielder's feet but his snap shot was failed to make a break, instead aimed straight at goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.
Gregory Nelson and Jeje Lalpekhlua broke at pace following an error by Bheke and Nelson's perfectly threaded through ball left the India striker one-on-one with Gurpreet. As the Bengaluru goalkeeper rushed forward, Jeje slotted the ball for a completely unmarked Germanpreet Singh, but his pass was inaccurate. So, Chennaiyin midfielder was unable to direct it to an empty goal.
Another Bheke mistake around the half-an-hour mark almost gifted Chennaiyin with a goal after his poor back-pass was intercepted by Jeje. The off-balance Chennaiyin forward had only Gurpreet to beat but lost his footing. Gurpreet then pulled off a fine save from a long-distance effort by Germanpreet before Bengaluru took the lead against the run of play.
During the end of the first half, Xisco Hernandez won the ball following a midfield scrap and quickly released Miku behind the Chennaiyin defence with a perfectly weighted pass. The Venezuelan striker, Miku unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot which left the Chennaiyin goalkeeper with no chance.
The frequent swapping of positions was a successful tactics and allowed Bengaluru to have more attempts at goal. The visitors came close to grabbing an equaliser straight after the interval following a long-throw into the Bengaluru box.UNI