The India international scored a brace in a fine performance that helped his team return to the top of the table.
A brace by Sunil Chhetri helped Bengaluru FC to a comfortable 3-1 win over Mumbai City FC in the Hero Indian Super League clash at the Mumbai Sports Arena on Thursday. The win takes Bengaluru FC back to the top of the ISL points table with 21 points.
Watch: Mumbai City 1-3 Bengaluru FC
Bengaluru FC opened the scoring on the night from the spot. With just barely minutes left for the halftime, Balwant Singh brought Sunil Chhetri inside his own box with a push from behind. The referee had no hesitation in awarding the away side a penalty. Chettri took the responsibility, and calmly slotted the ball past Mumbai City FC goalkeeper Amrinder Singh.
Before Chhetri gave his side the lead, Bengaluru was struggling to deal with Achille Emana, who made a few threatening runs from the midfield towards the opposition goal. MCFC created a few chances for themselves in a feisty first half, one of which fell to Balwant Singh. In the 35th minute, Everton Santos‘ cross from the right found Balwant but his header was well saved by Bengaluru goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh.
Just before conceding the penalty, Balwant could have been sent off after he swung his elbow at Harmanjot Khabra, who went tumbling down. The referee, however, took a lenient look at the incident, and the forward escaped with just a yellow card to his name.
Five minutes after the restart, Miku had a great opportunity to put the visitors two-up. The Spaniard was clear on goal with just Amrinder Singh to beat but he put his shot inches wides of the post. But that didn’t matter much, barely minutes later, Chhetri was again on hand to score his seventh goal of the season and double his side’s advantage.
After a driving run past Mumbai FC defenders, Udanta Kumam Singh found the Indian captain in the box and side-footed shot ended in the right-hand corner of the home sides goal.
Miku then sealed the result with Bengaluru FC third goal at the hour mark. A clumsy challenge just outside his own box by Gerson Vieira on the Spaniard gave the away side free kick. And this time, Miku made no mistake. His low driven shot was too hot for Amrinder Singh.
Leo Costa, who had come on as a substitute then gave Mumbai FC a flicker of hope with a goal in the 76th minute. After some good play with Balwant Singh, Costa managed to slip the ball through Bengaluru FC goalkeeper. But in the time that was left on the clock, Mumbai FC failed to do any further damage.
Alexandre Guimarães men have now lost two back to back games at home and are currently placed 5th on the leaderboard with 14 points.