Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC drew the curtains on their I-League season in style with a 3-0 win over Churchill Brothers at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Saturday. Daniel Lalhlimpuia (5th), Udanta Singh (35th) and Mandar Rao Dessai (83rd) got the job done for the Blues who finished the season on fourth position with 30 points. The win extended Bengaluru’s impressive unbeaten run to six games without conceding a goal across all competitions.
It took Bengaluru all of five minutes to give the home fans who braved the rains, something to sing about. Played down the right from a quickly taken freekick, Gursimrat Gill whipped in a delightful cross that Daniel tapped home on the volley to make it 1-0.
Bengaluru’s second came in the 35th minute when Churchill ’keeper Naveen Kumar completely missed a ball he raced out to collect. Udanta latched on to the pass, kept his composure, lost a defender before shooting home.
Churchill’s best chance came in the 44th minute when a misunderstanding between Juan Gonzalez and Sandesh Jhingan while defending a corner saw the ball fall at Adil Khan’s feet. But the Churchill player inexplicably skied his shot high from five yards out.
Bengaluru came out all guns blazing once again the second half, with shots from Daniel and Udanta blocked away. Churchill had a chance of their own with substitute Ansumana Kromah’s strike from distance, which Ralte had covered.
The Blues extended their lead once again, this time in the closing stages as Mandar Rao Dessai sent a long ball forward for Lenny Rodrigues to attack. The midfielder cut it back for Salam Ranjan to pass to the onrushing Dessai, who took a touch and then another before unleashing a curling shot past Churchill ’keeper Naveen. The goal was Dessai’s first since joining the Blues at the start of this season.
In a heavily shuffled line-up from the side that beat DSK Shivajians 7-0 last weekend, Albert Roca chose to rest Sunil Chhetri, Cameron Watson, John Johnson, CK Vineeth and Eugeneson Lyngdoh as 20-year-old Gursimrat Gill was handed his first start in a Blues shirt. Lalthuammawia Ralte was the Spaniard’s choice to stand in goal while Shankar Sampingiraj and Beikhokhei too got a look in as substitutes in what was their first minutes of the season.
The Blues next face Abahani Dhaka in the AFC Cup on May 3.