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Javi magic helps BFC dent East Bengal

Bengaluru FC rallied from a goal down against East Bengal at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium to secure their first points of the season in dramatic fashion with a 2-1 win.

The mercurial Naorem Mahesh Singh opened the scoring early in the first half, but Sunil Chhetri equalized by winning and converting a penalty. Javi Hernandez’s wonder-goal in the 72nd minute proved to be the difference.

East Bengal began brighter with a high defensive line. Borja Herrera saw lot of the ball and created openings with his wide array of passes.

Simon Grayson went for a more attacking set-up. Namgyal Bhutia and Harsh Patre filled in for the suspended duo of Naorem Roshan Singh and Suresh Wangjam.

The front three of returning Sunil Chhetri, Ryan Williams and Curtis Main pressed in unison as Javi picked up the midfield spaces.

East Bengal opened the scoring in the 15th minute, and it was all down to Mahesh’s sheer brilliance.

After a sedate start, Mahesh immediately burst into life. The winger picked up Nandhakumar Sekar’s pass, and broke Bengaluru’s spine with a remarkable solo run, nut-megging Slavko Damjanovic and Jessel Carneiro before sliding the ball into the bottom right corner.

Bengaluru fought back in the 21st minute through Chhetri’s contentious penalty. The skipper played a one-two with Javi and was brought down by Mandar Rao Dessai.

East Bengal played their way through Bengaluru’s press with relative ease in the second half and had the better chances. Mahesh pranced free down the right and supplied a delicious cross, which was skied by Nandha.

However, Bengaluru FC snatched the lead against the run of play. After East Bengal failed to clear a harmless cross, Javi conjured up an outrageous overhead kick to send the home fans into raptures.

East Bengal threw the kitchen sink in search of a second, but BFC held firm to pocket three valuable points.

Result: BFC: 2 (Sunil Chhetri 21st, Javi Hernandez 72nd) bt East Bengal FC: 1 (Naorem Mahesh Singh 15th).

(Published 04 October 2023, 23:21 IST)

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