Bengaluru edge out ATK to take narrow advantage into the second leg

www.indiansuperleague.com
www.indiansuperleague.com|02-Mar-2020 18:38

A Deshorn Brown goal proved to be the difference as Bengaluru FC registered a 1-0 win over ATK FC in the first leg of their Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 semi-final clash at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday. The win gives the defending champions a slight advantage heading into the second leg in Kolkata next Sunday, but Nishu Kumar’s red card will be the sole blemish in what was largely a positive night for the Blues.

-Deshorn Brown put Bengaluru FC in front in the 31st minute.
-Bengaluru’s Nishu Kumar was sent off for a last man challenge on Roy Krishna in the 84th minute.

It was a feisty start to the contest with players from both sides putting themselves about. Open chances, however, were few and far between with both sides putting in a tight shift at the back. There were occasional edge-of-the-seat moments with Rahul Bheke heading over the crossbar from a corner and Roy Krishna falling inches short from tapping in a David Williams cross, but neither of the goalkeepers had too much to do in the first 15 minutes.

Williams got the ball inside the net in the 17th minute after a quick counter attacking move but to the dismay of the ATK players, it was ruled out for a hand ball leading up to the finish.

As the match progressed, ATK looked the more dangerous of the two sides from open play while the Blues threatened mostly from set pieces. It was the home team who eventually took the lead in the 31st minute. Juanan’s seemingly tame shot was saved by Arindam Bhattacharja but the ATK custodian spilled the ball. Deshorn Brown, who was following up, tapped home from close range to give Bengaluru a 1-0 lead.

The Jamaican could have made it 2-0 11 minutes later, after he squeezed past a couple of ATK defenders and let one fly. Fortunately for ATK, the effort was on the wrong side of the crossbar, but only narrowly. ATK created a couple of half chances in the dying minutes of the first half, but the score stood at 1-0 to Bengaluru heading into the break.

Bengaluru made a change at half time, with striker Kevaughn Frater coming on for Albert Serran, who seemed to have picked up a knock towards the end of the first half. Two minutes into the second period, Brown almost set up Sunil Chhetri for the Blues’ second of the night. The Bengaluru skipper’s header was on target, but this time, Arindam did enough to tip it over.

With the home team sitting deep, ATK attackers had little joy going forward, with the likes of Krishna, Garcia and Williams hardly getting any space to exploit behind the Bengaluru defence. Around the 75-minute mark, Arindam needed to make a good save to keep Frater’s cracking shot from range out of the ATK goal. Five minutes later, Chhetri squandered an opportunity to get on the score sheet as he blasted over after Erik Paartalu set up a scoring opportunity for the striker with a cross from out wide.

In the 84th minute, there was a twist in the tale as Bengaluru’s Nishu Kumar was sent off after a last-man challenge on Krishna, who seemed through on goal. With a man up, the away team tried hard to grab a late equalizer but the ten-man Bengaluru side held out to secure the crucial win.

Hero of the Match – Erik Paartalu

The Australian midfielder not only had a big role to play behind the winning goal, but also produced a brilliant display at the middle of the park. Paartalu’s two tackles, six clearances, four interceptions and as many blocks helped the Blues keep yet another clean sheet this season. He was the Hero of the Match.

AWARDS

Club Award – Bengaluru FC

Maruti Suzuki Limitless Player of the Match – Dimas Delgado

DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Juanan

ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Suresh Wangjam

Hero of the Match – Erik Paartalu