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ISL: Bengaluru FC start on a winning note under new coach

Bengaluru FC defeated Jamshedpur FC 1-0 under new head coach Gerard Zaragoza to return to winning ways in ISL 2023.

ISL: Bengaluru FC start on a winning note under new coach

Thoi Singh with Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 17 Dec 2023 6:07 AM GMT

Bengaluru FC began its reign under new Head Coach Gerard Zaragoza on a positive note as Javi Hernandez’s spot-kick (44’) gave them three points against Jamshedpur FC at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Saturday.

The result took the Blues to ten points from 11 games, and up to 8th position on the League table.

Earlier, Gerard Zaragoza recalled Jessel Carneiro and Halicharan Narzary to the Blues’ eleven, opting to begin in a 4-3-3 with Javi Hernandez in an attacking role, with Keziah Veendorp guarding the Blues’ backline. Sunil Chhetri and Sivasakthi Narayanan formed Bengaluru’s attack.

Jamshedpur FC started with Alen Stevanovic partnering Daniel Chima Chukwu in attack, with Steve Cooper choosing to roll out a 4-4-1-1 that had Komal Thatal and Seiminlen Doungel providing pace down the flanks.

The Blues made the early inroads with Sivasakthi threading through the channels while Javi and Chhetri looked to knit things together. The first chance of the game fell the way of the hosts when Carneiro’s cross found the skipper, but the header was wayward.

Moments later, Sivasakthi won his battle for possession with Pratik Chaudhari, feeding Javi in space but the Spaniard’s shot drifted wide of the post.

Past the half-hour mark, Bengaluru had two chances in quick succession, both with Chhetri involved. The first, a free-kick from just over 20 yards out, was pushed away by Rehenesh before Javi’s take from the resulting corner found its way to the skipper.

With the ball in the air and Rehenesh trying to collect, Damjanovic managed to put the Jamshedpur custodian under pressure, allowing Sivasakthi to slot home. The referee’s assistant on the far side, however, spotted an infringement, and the goal wouldn’t count.

Persistence paid off for the hosts, with Bengaluru awarded a spot-kick after Slavko Damjanovic’s attempted lob over a Jamshedpur defender caught a flailing arm, prompting referee Pratik Mondal to point to the spot. Chhetri, the Blues’ designated penalty-taker for the best part of a decade, handed the ball over to Javi for the Spaniard to slot past Rehenesh and give Bengaluru a lead they would take into the break.

The visitors rang in three changes at the break, with Seiminlen Doungel, Alen Stevanovic, and Mohd. Uvais withdrawn for Rei Tachikawa, Mohd. Sanan and Imran Khan. Ten minutes into the half, the Red Miners were forced into another change in personnel with Komal Thatal unable to continue, and replaced by Emil Benny.

Bengaluru began the second half where they left off and had chances to add to their advantage, first through Chhetri who saw his effort from distance go high of the frame before Jovanovic’s flick was blocked away. Zaragoza rang in a change of his own as Sivasakthi was withdrawn for Rohit Danu.

Jamshedpur took the game to Bengaluru in the final moments drawing three saves from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in quick succession. The Blues’ custodian was tested by Tachikawa and Chukwu but stood strong and defended what was only their second clean sheet of the campaign.

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