Bangalore: Bengaluru`s inspirational skipper Sunil Chhetri and Robin Singh`s penalties helped the team defeat Salgaocar FC 2-1 and consolidate their position on the top of the I-League table at the Bangalore Football Stadium here on Saturday.
Chhetri and Singh scored in the 28th minute and extra time of the match through penalties, respectively, while Gilbert Oliveira scored the lone goal for the visitors in 85th minute after getting a penalty.
The first half saw an even-steven contest in front of the 7,700 spectators, but Salgaocar possessed the ball most of the time.
In first 28 minutes of the game, the visitors spilled many half chances they could have converted into goals, but their attempts were repulsed by ever-alert Bengaluru goalkeeper Pawan Kumar.
Though Bengaluru did not have maximum ball possession, they made good moves. They, however, weren`t lucky enough to their first goal.
But after they managed to score their first goal, Bengaluru came into their own and played some magnificent football, nearly striking thrice at the visitors` post.
Compared to the first half, the second half was drab and not so interesting with both sides making half-hearted attempts to score from the shooting range.
Fifteen minutes before the long whistle, Salgaocar lost the plot, but were lucky to convert the penalty.
They however, conceded another penalty to the hosts, who did not fail to seal the match.
In the first half, Salgaocar pushed the game to a higher level, putting the hosts on constant pressure right from the first whistle was blown.
Two attempts by Salgaocar`s Mathew Foschine and Frances Fernandes within 20 minutes added pressure on the hosts even as Pawan saved their strikes outside of the box to put Bengaluru defense in disarray.
In the 13th minute Siam Hangal had a wonderful opportunity to score from the centering off Sean Rooney, but he failed to trap the ball when he had only to dribble past a lone Salgaocar defender.
In 21st minute, Bengaluru got two consecutive corners but were spilled with poor attempts.
The hosts scored their first goal in 28th minute after Chhetri bulged the net of a penalty after they had won it through a Keagan Periera`s left-footer, which bumped into the hand of Nicolao Colaco.
In 32nd minute, Bengaluru had a good chance of taking the lead further to 2-0, the ball lobbed by Beikhokhei Beingaichho from the right flank was arduously tapped for a corner by Salgaocar goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.
Salgaocar nearly smashed an equaliser in 44th minute when Darryl Duffy had an open chance to score, but failed to control the ball, which rolled out for a free kick in favour of the hosts.
Returning from the break, Oliveira equalled 1-1 in the 85th minute through a penalty after the visitors had won after referee A Rowan fouled Vishal Kumar for hand-ball in the box.
The equaliser forced them to switch gear and increased their pace of the game in the remaining part of the match.
After Saturday`s win, Bengaluru are the table-toppers with 30 points from 15 matches, three points ahead of their nearest rival Sporting Clube de Goa.
Salgaocar is placed fifth with 19 points from 14 games, one point behind Shillong Lajong.