Defending Champions Chennaiyin FC lose their opening game against Bengaluru FC
Bengaluru FC faced off Chennaiyin FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in what was the inaugural match of the fifth season of the Indian Super League.
Nicolas Fedor, who is also called Miku, scored the only goal of the match in the 41st minute. It was a clinical strike from the right edge of the box as Miku controlled an incisive pass from Xisco Hernandez quite well. He adjusted himself and shot the ball powerfully at the top corner to send Bengaluru ahead at halftime.
Both teams had lined up their full-strength starting XI on the field and the match began with Bengaluru dominating the possession early on. They pushed Channaiyin FC back with some good passing at the centre of the park. The initial gameplay demanded Hernandez and Erik Paarkalu to maintain possession. However, they always looked out for Udanta Singh’s smart runs from the right flank. Hernandez managed to release Singh but some sturdy defending from Inigo Calderon ensured that this threat was neutralized. Miku created menace in Chennaiyin’s backline with some smart movements as he dropped off his line and drew the defenders along with him on some occasions. This created space for Singh from the right wing, and even Sunil Chhetri who was playing from the left flank.
Chhetri had a rather listless match as he looked off-guard and was unable to impact the proceedings. He had a good opportunity to double the lead in the second half when he was in a 1v1 situation against Karanjit Singh. However, Chettri fumbled that chance as he took an extra second to position himself rather than shooting the ball swiftly. Maybe, this was a sign of initial rustiness in the season.
Jeje Lalpekhlua was insipid and wasteful in possession as the forward missed two glorious opportunities to notch a goal for his team in the first half. The first instance was arguably easier but Jeje’s chip was wayward and it missed the net by a fair distance. Accordingly, he failed to finish off a similar chance again and the coach John Gregory was visibly disappointed at the touchline.
Both the teams had varied sets of game plans for this match. Gurpreet Sandhu was commanding inside the box, but he tried to bypass Chennaiyin’s midfield with some hopeful long punts on quite a few instances. Miku was unable to win the aerial duel at times and hence Gregory’s team recovered the possession through such situations.
On the other hand, Chennaiyin tried to absorb the pressure and hit on the counter at times in the first half. It should be noted that had Jeje been more clinical with his finishing, the visitors could have walked away with a victory tonight. He along with Rahul Bheke were the major disappointments from the match. However, both the players possess the required caliber to improve upon these performances.
Overall, it was an entertaining match but yet again, Miku’s brilliance set Bengaluru apart from their opposition.
What’s next for Chennaiyin FC?
Chennaiyin will next take on FC Goa at home on the 6th of October while Bengaluru will face Jamshedpur FC at the Kanteerava on the 7th.