By Rajarshi Chakrabarty
ISL League leaders Bengaluru FC maintained their domination as they beat Kerala Blasters FC with two late goals from Miku(91′) and Udanta Singh(93′) at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Friday.
Bengaluru started the domination from the start as Sunil Chhetri unleashed a powerful left-footed shot from 30 yards out to miss the target narrowly past diving Paul Rachubka to test Kerala goalkeeper early in the game.
Kerala had their first real opportunity in the 13th minute when Arata Izumi released Jackichand Singh with a long ball on the left flank.Jackichand cut back nicely and to deliver a grounded cross but CK Vineeth failed to make any connection with the ball.
As Bengaluru FC kept the Kerala defense under the pressure, Nishu Kumar found himself in a good scoring position after collecting the loose ball from Sunil’s blocked shot as Kerala defenders put bodies in the line.But the left-back failed to connect properly and blazed the shot wide of the target.
Boithang Haokip’s volley on 43rd minute had venom in it but it was headed straight to the keeper as Bengaluru kept mounting the pressure on the Kerala defense.
Miku found himself in space in the additional time of the first half but an alert Kerala defense averted the danger as Sandesh Jhingan’s timely interception dispossessed the striker.
Both sides went into the break at 0-0.
Back in the second half, the first real chance fell to Udanta Singh as a weak clearance from Sandesh Jhinghan was picked up by Toni Dovale and delivered a measured cross into the box found Udanta sneaking into the box unmarked.But the Manipuri lad failed to direct the header onto the goal and headed it wide as Bengaluru FC looked desperately for an opening goal in front of their home fans.
Miku had an opportunity to score in the 88th minute as the Venezuelan forward found himself with space down the right flank and charged into the box but pulled his narrowly wide of the far post.
The striker was presented with a similar opportunity just three minutes later as Daniel Segovia played it onto Miku and the forward made adjustment to his previous shot to work his angles right as he finished it off brilliantly with a diagonal shot to give Bengaluru FC 1-0 lead on the 91st minute.
Bengaluru FC did not allow Kerala Blasters to regroup as they struck within 2 minutes from a brilliant strike off Udanta Singh who collected the pass from Delgado Dimas on the edge of the box and was presented with space as Lalruatthara did not press Udanta.Udanta unleashed a brilliant left-footed shot at the bottom right corner to beat the keeper as Kerala found themselves 2-0 down within 3 minutes of added time.
Bengaluru FC scripted an important win beating Kerala Blasters to win the bragging rights in the Southern Derby as they sit comfortably on the top of the table having amassed 40 points.