Bengaluru FC continued their charge to the Indian Super League summit after a scorching finish from Nishu Kumar (7’) gave Carles Cuadrat’s men a 1-0 win over Hyderabad FC at the Kanteerava Stadium, on Thursday. The win took Bengaluru to second position on the table with 28 points.
Cuadrat made the one change from the side that started in the win against Odisha, bringing in Nishu for an injured Rahul Bheke. And the defender picked a blinder of a strike to mark the moment. Standing over a corner, Dimas Delgado rolled the perfect cut-back and Nishu’s hit from twenty yards out flew like an arrow past Laxmikant Kattimani and into the goal to give Bengaluru an early lead.
A calamitous call from referee Tejas Nagvenkar looked like giving Hyderabad a lifeline when he awarded the visitors a penalty in the 23rd minute. Chasing Marcelinho, Suresh Wangjam clearly tugged his man outside the box, but the Brazilian chose to go down once he made it past the eighteen-yard line, prompting the referee to point to the spot. The error was followed by yet another one, when Nishu was wrongly booked for what should have been a card for Suresh.
But Gurpreet wasn’t going to let a poor decision cost Bengaluru as he guessed correctly to dive low and deny Marko Stankovic. The Blues’ ‘keeper did well to recover and keep out Bobo’s attempt on the rebound as Cuadrat’s took their lead to half time.
Bengaluru should have put the game to bed twenty five minutes into the second half, but weren’t clinical in front of goal. Deshorn Brown had two chances in quick succession but scuffed his attempts wide. A second-half substitute, Ashique Kuruniyan then came close to scoring his first goal in Bengaluru’s colours after new signing Nili Perdomo put him through with a deft ball. The youngster did well to leave the men marking him in his wake, only to shoot off target.
Perdomo had a chance to get his own name on the scoresheet. Having made himself a yard of space in the box, the Spaniard’s shot came back off the upright, presenting itself to the winger once again. But Perdomo’s second stab at goal was inches off target.
The Blues travel to Bhutan next, where they will face Paro FC in a Preliminary Stage 2 clash of the 2020 AFC Cup, on the 5th of February. Bengaluru’s next Indian Super League clash is an away game against Chennaiyin FC on Sunday, the 9th of February.