ISL: Ganesh stuns Bengaluru FC with dramatic goal
D. Ganesh scored a dramatic, late winner as Chennaiyin FC became the first visiting team to triumph at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in nearly 10 months across all competitions. The 2-1 defeat will be a bitter pill for Bengaluru FC to swallow, for with five minutes left on the clock, Sunil Chhetri had cancelled out Jeje Lalpekhlua’s early strike, triggering wild celebrations in the stands.
Moments later, though, Ganesh rose high to head into the net from a free-kick as Chennaiyin made off with all three points. This was a fractious affair and tempers threatened to boil over at the end, with a minor scuffle on the pitch after the final whistle.
“They have not respected [us]; whether you win or lose, you have to have the same attitude,” said BFC head coach Albert Roca later. “It’s not nice when someone is coming just to laugh in your face.”
His counterpart John Gregory was delighted with the performance. “We made it hard for them to play their open, attacking game,” he said. “Defensively, we were very strong. I did not see [the post-match scuffle]. There was a lot of passion on the pitch. Everyone was getting upset, angry and over-celebrating, but this is what happens in a derby.”
Chennaiyin was by far the better side in the first half, with BFC failing to register a single shot on target. Gregory’s men denied BFC any space through the middle, pressing and closing players down with gusto. That early pressure duly resulted in a goal. Inigo Calderon’s cut-back from the right fell kindly for Lalpekhlua, who chested the ball down and drilled it under Gupreet Singh Sandhu. There was an element of luck in the build-up, with Lenny Rodrigues’ clearance ricocheting off Chhetri, but there was nothing fortunate about the finish.
Francis Fernandes and Jude Nworuh on the two wings exemplified Chennaiyin’s tireless pressing while the central midfielders Bikramjit Singh and Ganesh were quietly impressive. BFC struggled for fluency, and Edu Garcia’s shot against the post was all the home side had to show for its efforts in the opening period.
Things only improved after the interval, when Albert Roca introduced Udanta Singh, who had started on the bench with the packed calendar in mind. The forward instantly made an impact, fashioning a chance for Chhetri, but the latter’s effort was weak. The captain redeemed himself late on with a fine finish. His effort, though, would make no difference to the outcome.
The result: Bengaluru FC 1 (Sunil Chhetri 85) lost to Chennaiyin FC 2 (Jeje Lalpekhlua 5, D. Ganesh 88).