Bengaluru FC beat Gokulam Kerala FC 2-1 in the second Round of 16 clash of the ongoing Super Cup. Miku scored one and created another for Udanta Singh to seal a dramatic win for The Blues. Henry Kisekka scored the only goal for the Malabarians.
The Blues approached the game with a full-strength squad. The defensive duo of John Johnson and Juanan started alongside Rahul Bheke and Subhasish Bose. Victor Perez started at the heart of the Bengaluru midfield along with Lenny Rodrigues. Toni Dovale operated just behind striker Miku with Sunil Chhetri and Udanta on the flanks.
Bino George’s side had two debutants on Sunday - Hristijan Denkovski and VP Suhair. The former East Bengal striker partnered Henry Kisekka upfront with Denkovski and Salman operating on the flanks.
It was an end-to-end affair right from kick-off. Gokulam should have been awarded a penalty in the very first minute when Suhair was pushed inside the box by Johnson.
Sunil Chhetri got the opportunity to break the deadlock in the 11th minute when he was one-on-one with Gokulam custodian Nikhil Barnard but he pulled off a brilliant save to deny the Indian skipper. From the resulting corner, Chhetri once again had an opportunity but Rashid made a goal-line clearance.
A few minutes later, Mohammed Rashid sent a cross from the right flank and Kisekka had only Gurpreet in front of him. Unfortunately, the striker’s header was misdirected.
Gokulam broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute thanks to a strike from Kisekka. It was a brilliantly orchestrated move which started with Denkovski’s pass to Mudde Musa who lobbed the ball inside the box eyeing Kisekka’s run. The Ugandan striker received the ball on his chest and found the back of the net as Bengaluru's defence was caught napping.
Chhetri once again got an opportunity to equalise in the 42nd minute. Irshad failed to keep a check on the Bengaluru skipper’s movement and slipped in front of the goal. Chhetri took advantage of the situation and entered the box with the ball but before he could shoot, an alert Emmanuel Chigozie pulled off a brilliant tackle.
At the stroke of half-time, the Kerala club got an opportunity to double their lead. Hristijan followed a long clearance from Rashid and he was one-on-one with Sandhu. But, the Bengaluru custodian came out of the penalty box and pounced on Gokulam attacker to clear the ball. The Macedonian appealed for a possible foul but the referee thought otherwise.
Bengaluru kicked off the second half with an attacking approach. They looked hungrier of the two sides and focused more on retaining ball possession. Bino George’s side, on the other hand, were happy to sit back and defend.
Albert Roca’s boys finally broke the deadlock in the 70th minute when Miku slotted the ball home. Rahul Bheke thumped a ball down the right flank for Udanta who outpaced Daniel Addo and squared it for Miku. The prolific goalscorer did not make any mistake in finding the back of the net.
Bino decided to shut shop completely after conceding the goal as he fielded Arjun Jayaraj in place of striker VP Suhair in order to solidify his midfield.
Miku came close to put Bengaluru in front when he lobbed the ball over Nikhil Barnard but just before it was about to enter the goal, Chigozie cleared it for a corner.
Kisekka missed arguably the easiest chance of the match in the 93rd minute. A cross from the right flank found Kisekka in front of the goal. However, the striker couldn't control the ball at the far post.
Bengaluru scored the winning goal in the dying moments of the match when Miku received a ball inside the box. He squared the ball to Udanta who applied the finishing touch.