Bengaluru, November 10, 2019: Chennaiyin FC suffered a second consecutive Hero Indian Super League defeat, losing out 3-0 to holders Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here today. Erik Paartalu, Sunil Chhetri and Semboi Haokip scored the goals for BFC as CFC fell further away going into the international break.
CFC Head Coach John Gregory gave a debut to young Indian attacker Rahim Ali, as Maltese forward Andre Schembri also returned to the starting lineup. As a result, Indian international winger Lallianzuala Chhangte and Romanian wide man Dragos Firtulescu dropped to the bench. For Bengaluru FC, Australian Erik Paartalu returned to the fray as former Chennaiyin midfield dynamo Raphael Augusto came up against his former side.
BFC made a bright start to proceedings and tested CFC goalkeeper Vishal Kaith twice in the opening ten minutes. First from a close-range Paartalu header which was straight at him, followed by fantastic reflex save to keep out Juanan’s snapshot at his near post.
Augusto then had a huge chance, failing to tap into an empty net. The Brazilian was found at the back post by Udanta Singh’s measured cross, only for a slight touch from Lucian Goian causing Augusto to mistime his shot as the ball went just wide.
But BFC did find the breakthrough in the 14th minute, when Paartalu marked his comeback with a header inside the six-yard box from a Dimas Delgado corner.
And ten minutes later, BFC doubled their lead through India skipper Chhetri. The experienced marksman ran onto Augusto’s lobbed through ball and fired past Kaith at his near post with a strong half-volley.
CFC hardly created anything of note going forward in the first period, a rare header from Schembri following Edwin’s cross looped just over Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s goal with half-time approaching.
Chennaiyin began the second period better than they did the first, midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh coming close to pulling one back on 50 minutes. His header from the middle of the box from a Rafael Crivellaro corner went inches wide of the upright. This was preceded by fellow Tamil Nadu man Edwin finding the roof of the net with a rasping drive that took a deflection.
Two minutes later, CFC made their first change as Chhangte came on for Rahim Ali. This was followed shortly after by Dragos replacing Schembri. BFC made their first change too as Nishu Kumar made way for Semboi Haokip.
Chhangte had an almost instant impact, when he surged down the left flank and squared it for the onrushing Rafael into the box. He further played a one-two with Valskis before stinging Gurpreet’s palms, only to see the offside flag raised.
With fifteen minutes to go, Chhetri was booked for simulation as he theatrically went down to Edwin’s challenge inside the box. CFC then made their third and final change as Thoi Singh came on for Rafael.
Into the final ten minutes, CFC came agonizingly close to pulling one back. It was Dhanpal Ganesh again from a corner, this time from Dragos, finding the upright with his stabbed effort after confusion in the BFC defence.
And a minute later, the home side scored the third goal and ended the contest. A long ball from Paartalu found Haokip, who got the better of Eli Sabia and slotted past Kaith to make it 3-0.
Chances fell to both sides in the remainder of the match, as BFC ran out winners in a fierce encounter.