Bengaluru FC suffered their first defeat of the season when a Bartholomew Ogbeche (82’) goal, a little less than ten minutes from time, gave title holders Hyderabad FC a 1-0 win at the GMC Balayogi Stadium, in Hyderabad, on Saturday. The loss - Simon Grayson’s first since taking over this summer - kept Bengaluru in fourth position on the table.
There were more than just a few changes to the eleven that Grayson chose to begin the game with. Spanish midfielder Javi Hernandez made his first start for Bengaluru in the League, as Roy Krishna missed out of the fixture with an injury. Jayesh Rane and Namgyal Bhutia too were handed starts, with Suresh Wangjam and Prabir Das taking their place on the Blues’ bench.
Sunil Chhetri, with Sivasakthi Narayanan for a strike partner, kept the hosts on their toes, but kept falling short in the Hyderabad box. The hosts too had a couple of half chances that they couldn’t make count, as the first half ended goalless on what was a far from ideal playing surface at the Gachibowli.
Just a little beyond the hour mark, Hyderabad had a big chance when Javier Siverio’s headed attempt looked destined for goal, only for Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to pluck the goal-bound ball out of the air. Soon after, Grayson rang in his first change, bringing on Leon Augustine for Sivasakthi. Javi, pulling the strings in midfield, grew into the game as the Blues looked to up the ante in attack.
With both defences refusing to crack, the game looked like ending in a stalemate, till Ogbeche made the most of a poor decision by Sandhu. The Bengaluru ’keeper, who had been solid till the goal, was indecisive in dealing with a Hyderabad corner, only managing to push the ball towards Ogbeche, who simply nodded home to give his side the lead.
Grayson threw Udanta on for Aleksander Jovanovic as Bengaluru chased Hyderabad and the clock for an equaliser that wasn’t to be. The Blues next make a trip to Odisha on Thursday.
Bengaluru FC Media Release