Federation Cup: Sunil Chhetri’s brace takes Bengaluru FC to semis
Sunil Chhetri scored a brace for Bengaluru FC to sink Pune 2-1 as English coach Ashley Westwood’s boys marched into the semi-finals of the Federation Cup at the Tilak Maidan here on Monday.
Vasco: Sunil Chhetri scored a brace for Bengaluru FC to sink Pune 2-1 as English coach Ashley Westwood’s boys marched into the semi-finals of the Federation Cup at the Tilak Maidan here on Monday.
Going into the Group B encounter, Bengaluru needed a stalemate to secure a place in the play-offs, but a lacklustre first half was set ablaze in the last three minutes with two goals.
The first was a screamer from Chhetri when he acrobatically volleyed home the ball which came off Englishman John Johnson’s head and fell perfectly in the path of the prolific forward.
Just when Bengaluru thought they had the vital goal to be happy at the half-time, they earned a second.
A few exchanges in the Bengaluru half later, Eugeneson Lyngdoh sent a perfect pass for Australian Sean Rooney who was through on goal.
Amrinder singh, the Pune custodian, however caught the Aussie’s foot in the box. Referee C.R. Srikrishna pointed to the spot and Chhetri scored his fourth of the tournament, putting it beyond the ’keeper whose correct guess was redundant.
Westwood also gave Robin Singh his first start of the Cup and the striker who scored in Bengaluru’s 1-0 win over Shillong Lajong, worked his socks off with Rooney for company up ahead.
Pune got their goal in the 86th minute. Nikhil Kadam’s shot from the right took a deflection off Keegan Pereira before soaring high into the box. Making the most of Lalthuammawia Ralte’s indecisiveness to deal with the situation, Thongkosiem Haokip managed to get his head to the ball which bounced before rolling in rather softly.
But as has been the norm over the last few games, Bengaluru saw their lead out without any sign of panic. The defence was solid, the midfield constantly looking to create chances and the strikers, well, taking those chances.
The win makes Bengaluru the first team to be through from the group and Monday's Group A games will soon decide who they will face in the semi-finals Friday.