I-League 2015/16: Vineeth’s header powers Bengaluru past Aizawl

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Image Courtesy: © Twitter - Bengaluru FC

I-League 2015/16: Vineeth’s header powers Bengaluru past Aizawl

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Arun S Kaimal

02/28/2016

A 48th-minute header from winger CK Vineeth was the difference between the two teams as Bengaluru FC defeated Aizawl FC 1-0 at the Kanteerava stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday. With the win, the home side moved into the second position in the table, cutting down Mohun Bagan’s lead to three points.

Starting Line-ups:

Bengaluru FC: Amrinder (GK), Rino, Johnson, Osano, Keegan, Zuala, Collins, Udanta, CK Vineeth, Chhetri(C), Len Doungel

Aizawl FC: Zothanmawia (GK), Ricky, Chigozie, Chullova, Lalruatthara, Albert, David(C), Kinowaki, Lalbiakthanga, Lalmuankima, Alfred Jaryan

A 0-2 defeat against title rivals Mohun Bagan on February 13 was the last result for Bengaluru FC in the I-League. After a break of one week and a defeat against Lao Toyota in the AFC Cup, the 2013-14 I-League champions returned into the competition in search of three points to close the gap on league leaders Mohun Bagan to three. Coach Ashley Westwood welcomed back captain Sunil Chhetri into the side after missing out on the AFC Cup match against Lao Toyota with an injury. North Korean striker Kim Song-Yong was dropped to the bench with youngster Udanta Singh coming in place of him.

On the other hand, Aizawl FC arrived at the garden city after registering a 2-0 win over Mumbai FC last Saturday. Although striker Joel Sunday made a brilliant debut last week by scoring a goal, coach Jahar Das opted to leave the Nigerian on the bench with Liberian Alfred Jaryan once again leading the line.

A 0-1 win to Bengaluru was the result when these two teams met last time at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl in January. With the newcomers Aizawl producing spirited performances one after the other in the league the match was predicted to be a tough contest for the home team and it was proved right with the Blues having a difficult time in the match.

The away side produced most of the chances in the first 30 minutes with Lalmuankima and Jaryan troubling the Bengaluru defence. Although the home sided had much of the possession in the first half, Aizawl banked on quick counter attacks to make the crowd at the Kanteerava nervy. Lalmuankima was a constant threat through the half giving a hard time to Osano and Johnson.  The attacking midfielder also produced a brilliant shot from the edge of the box, which looked set for a goal, only to see Amrinder Singh parrying it away.

Udanta Singh was the only positive for the home side with some pacy runs down the right to race into the box. However, Zothanmawia in the Aizawl goal had a very quiet first half with the home side not troubling the custodian. In fact, Bengaluru did not had any shots on target in the first 45 minutes, while the away side produced two.

However, it all changed within minutes into the second half with CK Vineeth scoring the opening goal for the home team. Left-back Keegan Pereira curled in a free-kick from the left and the winger jumped ahead of the defenders to power in a header from close range to put the home side ahead. With his team, a goal down, Aizawl coach Jahar Das brought on Nigerian striker Joel Sunday in place of Lalruatthara in an attempt to add more mettle to the attack.

Bengaluru also opted for a change near the hour mark after skipper Sunil Chhetri suffered a cramped left leg and was replaced by youngster Daniel Lalhlimpuia, who made his maiden I-League appearance. With the goal in the bank, the home side seemed more confident in the last thirty minutes and pushed ahead in search of the second. Although the second goal remained absent, Bengaluru comfortably defended the final minutes to see off a spirited performance from Aizawl.

With the win Bengaluru FC moved into the second position in the table, cutting down the lead of Mohun Bagan to three. 

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