Substitute Sivasakthi scores late winner for Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru, (UNI) Bengaluru FC edged Hyderabad FC with substitute Sivasakthi Narayanan scoring a late winner at the Kanteerava Stadium here on Saturday.

Spanish midfielder Javi Hernandez had given the Blues the lead in the second half, before Ramlunchhunga equalised, only for Sivasakthi to find the back of the net in what was a fixture for the stands.

Earlier, the Blues named three changes to their side from the one that started against Mumbai City FC as Slavko Damjanovic took Aleksandar Jovanovic’s position in defence, while Javi Hernandez and Lalremtluanga Fanai returned to the eleven replacing Harsh Patre and the suspended Suresh Wangjam in the middle of the park.

Thangboi Singto replaced suspended Joao Victor and Alex Saji with Abijith PA and Jeremy Zohminghlua, as goalkeeper Laxmikanth Kattimani started ahead of Gurmeet Singh.

Bengaluru started the game on the front foot, piling up attacks one after the other, continually testing the Hyderabad defence. On the half hour mark, Shivaldo Singh struck a right-footed shot from outside the box, forcing Kattimani to save. The Hyderabad keeper was kept busy from the get go, with Bengaluru’s forays coming up against a resolute visitors’ backline.

The Blues got closer to breaking the deadlock when Sunil Chhetri was played through on goal by Williams, but his attempt could only find the side netting. Bengaluru were denied again in time added on to the first half when Slavko clipped the ball over the Hyderabad backline to set up Oliver Drost.

The Danish striker’s attempted lob over Kattimani, saw the onrushing goalkeeper make himself big to deny. Javi’s attempt from the rebound of the same play was cleared off the line.

Ten minutes into the second half Bengaluru brought on Rohit Kumar for Shivaldo in midfield, as Sebastian Vega and Renedy Singh looked to add impetus to the Blues’ hunt for that evasive first goal.

Bengaluru found themselves in the lead through Javi with 72 minutes on the clock with Drost finding the Spaniard free down the left flank. The Blues’ no. 10 lashed his shot past Kattimani to give Bengaluru the lead.

Bengaluru brought on more fresh legs into the mix with Sivasakthi and Harsh Patre replacing Drost and Fanai. Bengaluru’s lead, however, was short lived as Ramhlungchhunga brought his side back into the game, scoring on the rebound (80’) from a Gurpreet Singh Sandhu save to level things up with just ten minutes of regulation time left to play.

Found in space down the flank, Sivasakthi beat his marker, cutting in on his left and unleashing an effort that evaded Kattimani’s dive and found its way to the bottom corner. Bengaluru FC saw the game through, picking up three valuable points that pushed them up to eighth place on the table, four points off the final playoff spot.

The Blues take on southern rivals Kerala Blasters next, on Sunday, March 2 at the Kanteerava Stadium.

Leave a Reply