Bengaluru FC, Odisha FC register impressive wins
KOLKATA, Aug 17: Sunil Chhetri and Roy Krishna scored a goal each as a 10-man Bengaluru FC overcame some anxious second-half moments to down Jamshedpur FC 2-1 in the Durand Cup here on Wednesday.
Eyeing the elusive Durand Cup title, the former I-League and Indian Super League champions began on a strong note with Chhetri finding the net in the 23rd minute from a Prabir Das corner.
The much-anticipated pairing of Chhetri and Krishna then got going together to make it 2-0 with the former ATK Mohun Bagan star marksman opening his account in the 56th minute.
Having started from the bench, the marquee Fijian recruit scored just 11 minutes after coming on to the pitch, as he worked in tandem with talismanic skipper Chhetri.
Anticipating Krishna behind him, Chhetri made a perfect run into the Jamshedpur FC box, providing an inch-perfect backheel to the Fijian to do the needful and give them a 2-0 cushion inside the one hour-mark.
But the Blues were in for some jittery moments after their skipper left the field.
Hira Mondal, who was already on a yellow card, once again caught the eyes of referee Rahul Kumar Gupta to get a second booking as Bengaluru were reduced to 10 players in the 59th minute.
The Red Miners were quick to cash in on their numerical advantage to earn a freekick, resulting in their first goal of the Durand Cup. Rishi utilised Phijam Vikash Singh’s freekick from the right to pull one back.
Under new coach Simon Grayson, Bengaluru FC then bolstered their defence with five men at the back to hold off Jamshedpur FC’s late surge.
Meanwhile, Josep Gombau’s confident Odisha FC drubbed North East United FC 6-0 in Assam’s first ever Durand Cup match at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati .
The first game of Group D meandered a little in the second half but with Isak’s late strike lightening it up, Odisha put in another three-goal blitz in nine minutes to complete half a dozen.
The star performers for Odisha were Jerry Mawihmingthanga, with a brace (14’ & 37’), along with solitary strikes into the net by Nandhakumar Sekar (25’), Isak (81’)’, Diego Mauricio (87’) and Thoiba Singh (90).(Agencies)