Defending Indian Super League (ISL) champions Bengaluru FC maintained their unbeaten start to the season as they registered a 1-0 win against newcomers Odisha FC on Wednesday at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune. Spanish recruit Juanan (36') scored the only goal of the match to help his team take home three points and climb to the top of the standings.
As the match got underway, Bengaluru gained a strong foothold and started dominating possession. However, they did not probe enough and Odisha custodian Arshdeep Singh was hardly tested.
In fact, it was Odisha who got the first big opportunity to get ahead on the scoresheet. Attacking on the counter, winger Nandha Kumar drove ahead before unleashing a shot from just outside the box. But Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was there to cover the far-post with a full-stretch dive and Bengaluru could breathe again. Jerry, then, came close to breaking the deadlock but his shot went wide of the post.
Odisha failed to make their chances count and in the 36th minute, the visitors took the lead through Juanan. Nishu Kumar's impeccable aerial pass from the wing fell to Erik Paartalu who nodded it towards Juanan. All the defender had to do was direct it goalwards and he managed to do it from a very tight angle.
Even before the half time whistle, young winger Udanta Singh could have had one to his name but he chose to unselfishly cut it back for his teammate rather than going for goal and squandered the opportunity.
Odisha created quite a few openings from which they should have scored in the second half but Gurpreet was at his very best. The 27-year-old ensured that his team went home with a clean sheet. In the end, the resolute defensive performance and Gurpeet's heroics saw Bengaluru claim an all-important win.