28th February, 2016, Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC moved to second position on the table and kept the pace on leaders Mohun Bagan after a CK Vineeth goal in the 49th minute gave Ashley Westwood’s team a 1-0 win over Aizawl FC, at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Sunday evening. Vineeth’s fourth League goal, a flicked header from a freekick, took Bengaluru FC to 18 points from nine games, one more than East Bengal who have a game in hand.
Westwood rung in as many as six changes from the team that started in the defeat to Lao Toyota on Wednesday. Having missed the travel to Laos with a niggle, skipper Sunil Chhetri made his way back into the team, being deployed just behind Len Doungel who replaced Kim Song Yong in attack.
Lalchhuanmawia’s sending off against Mohun Bagan meant Keegan Pereira manned things in the left-back position while Amrinder Singh was back in goal ahead of Lalthuammawia Ralte. Udanta Singh and Malsawmzuala, second-half substitutes on Wednesday, were the other starters.
For all the frustrating moments in front of and around goal in the first half, Bengaluru got their lead only four minutes into the restart. A Bengaluru freekick down the right saw Keegan Pereira swing in a delightful cross that had more than a hint of similarity to his assist for the Blues’ winner in Aizawl. And Vineeth matched the delivery with a leap and a header that beat ‘keeper Zothanmawia all ends up.
Vineeth could have had a second just minutes later but he couldn’t keep his volley down and on target from just inside the box.
Aizawl did have a late charge of sorts but the Blues defended in numbers and clinically, knowing well that lead was too slender and precious to let go of. For all the times his defence nipped attacks in bud, Amrinder had his own moment of playing hero when he kept out an Alfred Jaryan strike from point blank range with just three minutes left on the clock.
Aizawl FC goalkeeper Zothanmawia scrambles to clear the ball as Bengaluru FC’s Udanta Singh tries to send it goal-wards.
Bengaluru FC’s Seiminlen Doungel made a nuisance of himself in the Aizawl FC half, harrying defenders with his strength and direct running.
Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri controls a high ball as an Aizawl FC player attempts to thwart the danger.
Sunil Chhetri’s well-timed runs and his all-round passing range meant Aizawl FC kept a close watch on the Blues skipper, even using multiple markers for the forward during passages of play.