Roy Krishna’s early goal was canceled out by a Prashanth Karuthadathkuni strike as Bengaluru FC were held to a 1-1 draw by Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Chennai, on Friday. Simon Grayson’s men played the final moments of the game with an advantage in personnel, after Chennaiyin goalkeeper Debjit Majumder was sent off, but were unable to find a winner in what was a high-octane encounter from start to finish.
Grayson made no changes to the side that claimed a 1-0 win over NorthEast United last week, handing Sivasakthi Narayanan his second start, alongside Roy Krishna in attack, with skipper Sunil Chhetri playing in a central position behind the front-two. Chennaiyin started with Petar Sliskovic and Rahim Ali in attack, as Vafa Hakhamaneshi and Fallou Diagne marshaled the backline.
The Blues got off to a flying start, with Sivasakthi combining with Roy to find Grayson’s side in the lead in just four minutes. Found free down the right flank by Suresh Wangjam, the 21-year-old whipped a cross into the box that Krishna met with a cushioned header that looped over Debjit Majumder.
Chennaiyin found their footing and had chances of their own, first through Prashanth, whose shot was straight at Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. Nearing the half hour mark, Prashanth wriggled his way into the box to find Petar Sliskovic, but his shot on the volley came crashing back into play off the crossbar.
The Blues had a shout for a penalty turned down, and dubiously so, when Krishna was found in the box by Sivasakthi, but then bundled over by Fallou Diagne. Referee Crystal John waved play on, with replays suggesting the Senegalese defender made no contact with the ball in making the tackle.
Gurpreet pulled a string of fine saves, including a point-blank denial of Sliskovic who sent a header goalward, before Chennaiyin scored the equalizer in the final embers of the half. The Croatian, dropping deep to join the build up, turned his marker and played Prashanth through, who slotted past Gurpreet.
Chennaiyin came out buoyed by their late equalizer and threw bodies into the box to ask questions of the Blues’ backline. Sliskovic forced another save from Gurpreet, with his header parried away once again. Bengaluru brought themselves back into the game, and had their first chance from a set-piece when Roshan swung a corner for Alan to meet, but the Brazilian’s header was off target.
Grayson made his second change of the game at the hour mark, as Udanta Singh replaced Prabir Das. Earlier, Jayesh Rane came off the bench as Sivasakthi made way at the break. Chennaiyin made a change of their own as Edwin Vanspaul replaced goalscorer Prashanth in the 64th minute.
Into the final twenty, both sides rang in double changes as Rahim Ali and Ajith Kumar made way for Ninthoi and Jockson Dhas, while Parag Shrivas and Javi Hernandes replaced Alan Costa and Suresh. Soon after, the hosts were reduced to ten men when Debjit Majumder came off his line and brought Krishna down with the striker played through on goal by Rane. Forced into making a change with his personnel on the field, Thomas Brdaric called for Iranian defender Vafa to go in goal.
Bengaluru pushed forward for the winner, but it wasn’t to be as the hosts held fort to save a point. The Blues stay on the road as they travel to the Gachibowli Stadium in a weeks’ time, to face Hyderabad FC on 22nd October.