Bengaluru FC halted their run of four defeats with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against NorthEast United FC, at the Tilak Maidan, on Tuesday. The Blues went behind to a Luis Machado goal in the 27th minute, but got back on even terms when Rahul Bheke scored in the 49th minute.
Naushad Moosa made three changes to the side that took on SC East Bengal two days ago with Udanta Singh, Suresh Wangjam and Ajith Kumar making way for Pratik Chaudhari, Kristian Opseth and Harmanjot Khabra, who returned after serving a one-match suspension. Gerard Nus made four changes to the Highlanders side that lost to Hyderabad FC. Gurmeet, Dylan Fox, Rochharzela and Lalengmawia replaced Subhasish Roy, Mashoor Shereef, Idrissa Sylla and Lalrempuia Fanai.
The Blues dominated the first quarter, with youngster Parag Shrivas, playing at left back, a constant threat down the wing. He was central to the side's first chance of the night. Playing a give-and-go with Khabra, he put in a low cross for Opseth that was blocked by Fox. Soon after, Bengaluru had the game's first shot on target. Rahul Bheke's cross in the 24th minute was met by Opseth but the Norwegian's header was straight at Gurmeet.
However, it was the Highlanders who took the lead at the Tilak Maidan. Dimas Delgado lost possession in the midfield, giving Federico Gallego room to run towards the Blues’ box. His scuffed shot - that Pratik Chaudhari should have cleared - fell to Machado and the Portuguese made no mistake in finding the net and putting NorthEast 1-0 up.
Bengaluru almost found the equaliser a minute before half time when Bheke's throw-in was flicked on by Erik Paartalu towards Cleiton Silva. The Brazilian's half-volley was saved by Gurmeet right on the goal-line, denying Bengaluru.
It didn't take long after the restart for Moosa’s side to get back on level terms. From a free kick, Dimas released Bheke down the right and the defender cut past two defenders before shooting from outside the box, catching Gurmeet off guard. The ball was in the back of the net before the 'keeper could change positions and it was 1-1 on the 49th minute.
Youngsters Amay Morajkar and Leon Augustine were introduced in the final quarter as the Blues looked for the goal that would put them in the lead and three minutes before the end, Bengaluru had a good chance to complete the comeback. Cleiton pounced on a loose ball but his shot had a little too much power on it and the ball sailed over the bar. Bengaluru pushed forward for the winner but it wasn’t to be, as the hosts put an end to all their forays into the box.
Bengaluru are back in action on January 20 when they take on Kerala Blasters FC at the GMC Stadium, in Bambolim.
BFC Media Release