Bengaluru FC beat ATK Mohun Bagan to reclaim playoffs spot

Bengaluru FC moved back into sixth place after earning their first-ever victory over ATK Mohun Bagan in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium on Sunday.

The 2-1 win was built on Javi Hernandez’s opener in the 77th minute before Roy Krishna added a second in stoppage time. It was the Blues’ fifth victory on the trot.

Juan Ferrando was forced to make two changes as the suspended duo of Ashique Kuruniyan and Hugo Boumous was replaced by Liston Colaco and Federico Gallego, while Simon Grayson fielded an unchanged XI.

The hosts dominated possession in the first half and entered the final third on several occasions, but the Bengaluru FC backline was on hand to thwart their attempts. The first chance for Bengaluru FC came via Hernandez, whose shot from the edge of the box went just over the crossbar.

Right-back Asish Rai was lively down the right flank with threatening balls in and a couple of shots at goal. In the 20th minute, Rai let one fly from about 30 yards out. His swerving and dipping effort was heading into the bottom corner at the near post before Gurpreet Singh Sandhu went down to palm it behind.

At the other end, Rai almost allowed Bengaluru FC a goal on the counter. Around the half-hour mark, against the run of play, Rai’s slip allowed Krishna to put Siva Narayanan through on goal. Vishal Kaith came charging towards the edge of the box and stopped the young attacker before he could cause any damage.

Krishna and Narayanan linked up again two minutes into the second half when the former’s layoff came to Narayanan, whose volley was crucially blocked by Subhasish Bose. Another opportunity presented itself to the young Bengaluru FC attacker in the final quarter of the match when Kaith’s punched ball came to him.

The two teams made moves into each other’s areas without too much success, until the 77th minute when the deadlock was finally broken. Roshan Naorem lobbed the ball towards the edge of the ATK Mohun Bagan penalty area before Hernandez put his laces through a powerful volley that burst through Kaith’s outstretched left hand and into the bottom corner.

After Hernandez opened the scoring in the 77th minute, Pablo Perez came on to assist Krishna’s goal in the first minute of stoppage time, with Kaith’s fumbled attempt to grab a cross opening up a simple tap-in for the striker. Just when the Blues thought the job was done, Dimitri Petratos’ shot from outside the box came off Alan Costa and flew past Sandhu in the 93rd minute. However, there wasn’t enough time to cause Bengaluru FC any more trouble.

After reinstating themselves in sixth place, Bengaluru FC will carry this momentum into their next fixture against arch-rivals Kerala Blasters on February 11. Meanwhile, ATK Mohun Bagan will be eager to return to winning ways when they visit Jamshedpur FC next on February 9.

Key Stats:

– Sandesh Jhingan made 8 clearances in the match

– Asish Rai attempted 9 tackles and made 2 clearances

– Siva Narayanan attempted a total of 6 shots in the match

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