Indian Player Ratings: Chhetri and Udanta run riot as Bengaluru ease into the final
Written by: Srinivasan
The dynamic duo for the Steelmen put on a performance that Pune had no answer to in the second leg of the semi-final clash of the ISL.
What had threatened to become another stalemate between the two sides saw Bengaluru FC ease into the final of their debut ISL season with a 3-1 win over Ranko Popovic's side. A hattrick from the Bengaluru captain Sunil Chhetri ensured that the Blues will play this year's final in front of their home fans in their bid to add another domestic honour to their already burgeoning kitty. A late Jonathan Lucca goal set the cat firmly among the pigeons late into the second half, but the Blues held on for a famous win.
Watch: Bengaluru FC 3-1 FC Pune City highlights
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu - 6.5
Called into action very early when Diego Carlos' fine strike was parried over the bar. Was the busier of the two keepers as he had to dive down low to keep a Marko Stankovic shot from finding the net. Could not do anything about a finely struck free kick by Jonathan Lucca 10 minutes before time that ensured that the game had a nervy finish.
Rahul Bheke - 6.5
Watch: Rahul Bheke came close to scoring against FC Pune City on Sunday night
Proving to be Roca's unsung gem at the back. His solidity at the fullback position is what has really given the Blues a tougher outlook on the flanks. Did not give Diego Carlos an inch of space and was on hand to snuff out threats from the wings effectively. Showed that he had a shot or two up his sleeve when his perfect volley thundered Kaith's post just after Chhetri's second goal.
Subhashish Bose- 6.0
The other value-for-money signing for the Blues, Bose offered width on the left flank and was never caught out of position when he had to deal with the dual threat of Isaac and Adil Khan. Was fortunate not to have conceded a penalty when he barged into Marcelinho who had skipped past him during the start of the second half.
Sunil Chhetri- 8.5
Watch: The Blues skipper scored a hattrick in the second leg of the ISL semifinal against Pune
Should have taken the early chance after fine work by Udanta on the right flank. Was on hand to make amends as his looping header beat Kaith to give his side the lead in the tie. Did brilliantly to break free of his marker just before halftime but his glancing header from a Dimas corner bounced just wide of Kaith's post. After a few quiet minutes in the second half, burst into life with a run from the left flank and was brought down by Sarthak in the box. Showed his class with the penalty as he performed the panenka with aplomb to give ensure his side were in control of the tie. Just when a late Lucca goal could have sparked a Pune comeback, the Captain ensured that there were no surprises with a well-taken third to seal the tie.
Boithang Haokip - 6.0
Provided plenty of work in a central role and often dropped back into midfield to support Dimas and Paartalu. His pace was something that the Pune defenders kept a close eye on. Moved wide whenever Chhetri ghosted into central positions and kept his side's shape intact. Brought off for Lenny as Roca sought greater defensive solidity.
Udanta Singh - 7.5
Watch: Udanta was in red-hot form against FC Pune City in the second leg of the semifinal
The Flash was in his element as he regularly got one over Sahil Panwar who could not keep up with him. Was also on the receiving end of some rather questionable tackles by the Pune players. Reiterated just why Roca needs him to stretch the backline.
Lenny Rodrigues - 6.5
Brought on for Boithang just at the hour mark as Roca sought to counter Popovic's change of system to a 5 man midfield at the break. Kept the ball effectively and turned over possession smartly as the game progressed
Alwyn George- NA
Brought on for Udanta just before the end of full time. Did not have time to influence the game.
FC Pune City
Vishal Kaith: 6.0
Watch: Kaith managed to save Pune from further humiliation on Sunday night
Did not have a shot to save till he and Gurtej got in the way of each other and ensured that neither had a chance to deal with Chhetri's header for Bengaluru's opener. Was alert to hack the ball clear when Chhetri was through on goal.
Gurtej Singh: 5.5
Saw Miku get the better of him in Bengaluru's opener as the veteran Venezuelan beat him in the air and at the same time clattered into Kaith as Chhetri's header sailed over them into the net.
Adil Khan: 6.0
The fullback gave it his all as he had to deal with the threat of Chhetri and also move forward to provide his team with some much-needed width. However, lost Chhetri when the Bengaluru captain escaped his attention to score the tie's opener.
Was overrun completely by the experienced duo of Dimas and Paartalu who had the run of the middle of the pitch. Popovic needed him to snuff out the fires in the midfield third but could not live up to his coach's expectations.
Issac Chhakchhuak: 5.5
Tried to provide the width and pace that his side needed to trouble Bheke and Bose. Was But was often faced with a blue wall as his fellow teammates needed to make runs to allow him to find space. Besides a teasing cross in the initial stages of the game, did not provide a threat for the home side in the first half. Moved into a more central role in the second half where he played off Alfaro
Sahil Panwar: 4.5
Was beaten for pace by Udanta on many occasions and got a yellow card for his troubles. The winger turned him inside out when he chipped in a dangerous assist for Chhetri's opener. Popovic sensed that the home side would continue to hammer this side of the pitch and replaced him with Sarthak Goloui at halftime.
Sarthak Golui- 5.5
Brought on for the ineffective Sahil Panwar in the second half as Popovic shifted Adil Khan to a central role and moved to a wing-back system. Nearly paid dividends when his cross was headed over by Alfaro at the start of the second half. Had a horror moment when Chhetri skipped past him with ease and he stuck out a leg thereby tripping the Bengaluru skipper from the back to concede a penalty his side could have done without.
Published: Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:18 PM IST