January 7th, 2018
The Blues’ captain scored the only goal of the game minutes before half time to hand his team three points.
Sunil Chhetri fired Bengaluru FC one point clear at the top of the Hero Indian Super League table with an incredible strike from distance on Sunday.
The narrow 1-0 victory against ATK at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru, is a significant three points, as all the top four teams have now played nine games. Bengaluru have now stitched up a hat-trick of wins while ATK have picked up only a point from their last two matches.
Watch the highlights here
Bengaluru’s first chance may have come in the fourth minute, but it took another 36 minutes for them to break the deadlock. Chhetri intercepted the ball from Conor Thomas’ loose pass, created a yard for himself on the right foot, and smashed it past Debjit Majumder in the 40th minute to give Bengaluru the lead in stunning style. It was the skipper’s fifth goal of the league.
ATK only started carving out chances in the second half. Robbie Keane was about to score a typical goal when he managed to find space past two markers and fired it towards goal, only to see Gurpreet Singh pull off a fine save. And just like it would happen throughout the game, the rebound was fired wide.
Keane was once again at the centre of the build-up when he found Rupert Nongrum in space. The cross from the midfielder reached Tom Thorpe but his header across the face of goal went begging.
Keane produced another cross but ATK simply couldn’t convert. Minutes after the save from Gurpreet, Debjit Majumder was called into action when he saved from Miku’s first-time drive.
Braulio Nogreba then had two chances in quick succession in the dying minutes to score the insurance goal for Bengaluru FC. First, he shot wide from a narrow-angle and then was ready for a tap-in before Jordi Montel made a last ditch – and successful – attempt at clearing the ball for a corner.
Earlier in the first half, Erik Paartalu and Edu Garcia almost created another goal early for Bengaluru while ATK’s first real chance came when Gurpreet Singh sharply kept out a chance created after Zequinha and Robin Singh had combined. Bengaluru could have then doubled the lead when Juanan headed a cross from Garcia – a take which went to hit the woodwork. Rahul Bheke’s impending effort was then cleared off the line and ATK were lucky to get away.