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NorthEast United v Bengaluru Match Report, 18/12/2019

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S. Chhetri (68 pen)
Albert Serrán (80)
Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium
ISL 2019-20: Bengaluru FC get the job done against NorthEast United FC
14:46 GMT 18/12/2019
NEUFC Bengaluru FC ISL
Sunil Chhetri and Albert Serran were on target as the Blues climbed to the top of the table...

Bengaluru FC picked up three points against NorthEast United FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati to climb to the top of the Indian Super League (ISL) table.

Sunil Chhetri (68’) scored from the spot and Albert Serran (81’) sealed the win following a lacklustre, goalless first-half.

NorthEast United made three changes to the side that lost 3–0 against ATK in their last game, with Nim Dorjee Tamang, Mislav Komorski and Lalengmawia replacing Wayne Vaz, Rakesh Pradhan and Asamoah Gyan.

Carles Cuadrat had Rahul Bheke come in for Raphael Augusto and pushed Harmanjot Khabra to midfield. The visitors dominated proceedings but barely managed to test Subhasish Roy Chowdhury.

It was the hosts who enjoyed the first big chance of the game when Bheke gifted Martin Chaves the ball and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had to make himself big at the near post to deny the Uruguayan.

However, the Blues, despite their poor performance in the first half, created the best chance of the half through Ashique Kuruniyan. The India international cut in from the left flank and beat Kai Heerings before sending a dangerous ball into the box. Udanta Singh was then guilty of missing an open goal from just a metre out, as he watched his header hit the cross-bar.

The hosts then dominated possession but were unable to ask any questions to the Bengaluru defence.

The home side spent more time on the ball in the first quarter of the second half but could not create an opening that could trouble the Gurpreet. At the other end, the defending champions were unable to create problems for the NorthEast defence ably led by Mislav Komorski.

But calamity struck for the hosts when Redeem Tlang was penalised, albeit harshly, for the handling the ball in the area. Chhetri made no mistake from the spot and fired it into the bottom corner to provide Bengaluru with the lead.

The visitors pushed hard for an insurance goal and were rewarded in the 81st minute when Serran found the back of the net. Udanta’s shot from distance took a deflection off Lalengmawia and the ball landed at Erik Paartalu's feet. The Australian midfielder floated a dangerous ball into the box and Serran headed it home to make it 2-0.

The visitors’ attempts at bagging a consolation goal were in vain as the Bengaluru defence stood tall to keep the clean-sheet.