Erik Paartalu grabbed a goal and an assist as Bengaluru FC reduced the gap at the top of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) table with a convincing 2-0 win against Jamshedpur FC, in Bengaluru, on Thursday.
The hosts scored from a set-piece when Erik Paartalu (8') scored from Dimas Delgado's corner. Sunil Chhetri (63') doubled the lead after the break to put the result beyond doubt.
The win takes Bengaluru to the second spot on the table with 22 points from 12 matches. Jamshedpur remain sixth with 13 points.
New signing David Grande started up top as Jamshedpur also had Gourav Mukhi returning to the ISL after 13 months. Bengaluru started the game on the front foot and looked the more likely team to break the deadlock. They did from a Dimas Delgado corner-kick eight minutes into the game.
The Spaniard's dangerous delivery was met at the near post by Paartalu who beat Narender Gahlot in the air and sent a powerful header into the net that left Subrata Paul with no chance.
Ashique Kuruniyan was afforded space to run down the flanks and the young winger made the most of the opportunity. Minutes later going ahead, Ashique dribbled his way out of a crowded area, made room for a shot and struck a ferocious volley that Paul somehow kept out.
Jamshedpur's new signing David Grande had a couple of good moments in the first half, but the team went into the break without registering a single shot on target. Grande fed Faruk Choudhary into the box before the break, but Ashique tracked back well to block the Indian forward's shot from inside the box.
Jamshedpur struggled to contain Ashique down the flanks and he came close again soon after the restart. He won the ball in his own half, dribbled all the way to the final third, played a one-two with Manuel Onwu and lashed the return wide of the goal from inside the box.
The visitors lacked a goalscoring threat inside the box, but Aitor Monroy nearly made amends at the hour-mark. Noe Acosta dribbled away from a crowd of Bengaluru players and laid the ball off for Monroy whose brilliant strike flew just wide of Gurpreet's post.
Bengaluru's intensity to keep going forward paid off as they doubled their lead just after the hour mark. Erik Paartalu played a magnificent long ball to release Chhetri into the box.
Narender failed to react to the pass and the forward headed the ball forward to take the onrushing keeper out of the equation and slotted home with ease.
A hopeful long ball gave Grande the chance to run through on goal, but a brilliant one-handed reflex save by Gurpreet denied Jamshedpur a way back into the game.
Cyrus' strike hand Bagan 1-0 win over Indian Arrows
Daniel Cyrus' first-half strike helped Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan beat Indian Arrows by a solitary goal in a Hero I-League match in Kalyani.
Cyrus scored the only goal of the match in the 19th minute.
Kibu Vicuna stuck to his winning formula and named an unchanged line-up from Mohun Bagan's thoroughly impressive win in Srinagar.
Arrows head coach Shanmugam Venkatesh made just the one change, opting to field Harpreet Singh in a four-man defence.
Buoyed by the 8,538-strong Green and Maroons faithful at the Kalyani Stadium, Bagan were firmly in the driving seat in the opening stages of the match.
The first goal-bound opportunity fell in the way of the hosts, when in the 12th minute, a cross-field delivery by Fran Morante found Papa Diawara completely unmarked and despite having a free header on goal, he couldn't capitalise.
Bagan, at this stage, were completely dictating the game, as the Arrows struggled for possession.
The deadlock was broken in the 19th minute, when a Nongdamba Naorem shot ricocheted off Akash Mishra's back, and with the ball still in the air, Cyrus unleashed a picturesque left-footed volley about 25 yards from goal, leaving Lalbiakhlua Jongte in the Arrows goal completely stranded.
The Green and Maroon brigade kept turning on the style, this time through VP Suhair. In the 24th minute, he made inroads into the box down the right through some smart footwork and after cutting in to his left, pulled the trigger with his weaker left foot, only to be denied by a great save from Jongte.
Coach Venkatesh was forced into making an early substitution in the 29th minute, seemingly frustrated with how the game was unfolding.
He took Harpreet Singh off, and brought on Aman Chetri, thus reverting to his previously tested 4-3-3. The Arrows, despite stringing passes together in the final third following Chetri's introduction, struggled to pose any real threat as Bagan went into half-time with a goal lead.
Bagan almost doubled their lead following the break.
In the 48th minute, a Joseba Beitia corner was met by a towering Fran Gonzales, but his header hit the woodwork.
Much against the run of play, the Arrows almost found an equaliser when RV Hormipan got to the end of an Ayush Adhikari set-piece, but his header glanced inches across the far post.
In the 70th minute, it was Jongte who gave away the ball with a poor pass, which was latched onto by Beitia, who fed Diawara through and with just Akash Mishra to beat, he got his shot away early, which sailed wide off the post.
The fourth consecutive victory for Bagan took them to the top of the Hero I-League standings with 13 points, while the Indian Arrows remain at the bottom with four points.
Chennai come out victorious in roller coaster southern clash
Defending champions Chennai City FC got the better of Gokulam Kerala 3-2 in an entertaining southern derby of the I-League in Kozhikode.
Adolfo Miranda (45th minute), Pravitto Raju (55') and Sri Ram (77') scored for the winners, while Shibil Muhammed (81' and 90') found the net for the home team.
The match saw three sending offs and five goals, much to the interest of the full house crowd at the EMC Corporation Stadium, who found it rather hard to take their eyes off the game after a slow first half.
The first half started on a dull note as both the teams were failing to gain any momentum as such. Neither Chennai nor the home side Gokulam was picking up the pace as the build-up play was very slow from both the teams.
In the 24th minute, Gokulam got a free kick just outside the box and Marcus Joseph took the shot but straight at the keeper.
In the 33rd minute, another chance came for Gokulam when a ball from the right flank into the box was met by a weak header by Henry Kisekka and it was easily cleared by the Chennai keeper.
Chennai who were looking out of sorts for most of the half brought in a change as Pravitto Raju, a midfielder, came on for Tarif Akhand, a defender in the 37th minute.
A change in the formation worked wonders for Chennai as a through ball from the left side of the mid-field went through three Gokulam defenders and Adolfo Miranda was there to receive it.
In the 45th minute, he very swiftly put the ball passed the Gokulam keeper and Chennai was ahead against the run of play with the Gokulam defenders left to appeal helplessly for an offside.
The goal pumped in renewed energy and Adolfo Miranda was again in the thick of things, his through ball was met by Katsumi Yusa's run and a shot which was saved by the home team keeper.
With no further goals in the half, Chennai went into the half leading 1-0 against the Kerala outfit.
Play resumed and Gokulam were on the attack.
In the 51st minute, a chance came the way of Marcus Joseph from a lob over the defenders but poor control let him down and Santana made a good save to keep him out.
In the 55th minute, things went from bad to worse for Gokulam as a mistake in the mid-field set up a counter for Chennai.
Katsumi got the ball and passed it to Adolfo Miranda whose shot was stopped the Gokulam keeper but the rebound fell to Pravitto Raju. Raju made no mistake and with a left-footed shot put the visitors 2-0 up in the match.