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Chiranjibip

Bhubaneswar: Football lovers of the Temple City witnessed their first Indian Super League game at the Kalinga Stadium here today where Bengaluru FC defeated the home side Jamshedpur FC quite convincingly by 2-0 goals. This was the 83rd match in the fourth edition of the premier football league of India.

 The game kicked off after Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik joined the players for the national anthem.

 Bengaluru FC, keeping an early possession, started aggressively in the first half. In the ninth minute skipper Sunil Chhetri failed to convert a chance and get the deflection when Nicolas Fedor fed the ball from the right flank.

 Bengaluru continued their dominance from the right flank but again failed to capitalise as Udanta Singh’s assist went in vain when Nicolas Fedor’s header went over the goal post.

 However, the Nicolas-Chhetri duo did not miss the next opportunity. In the first half itself, Nicolas Fedor and skipper Sunil Chhetri found the back of the net for the visitors in the 23rd and 34th minutes respectively.

The first goal came in the 23rd minute when Nicolas Fedor converted a penalty for the away team by disguising Subrata Paul the other way and scoring to his left. Earlier, Subrata was given a yellow card and the penalty was awarded to the Men in Blue after the Jamshedpur goalie brought down Fedor in a one on one clash inside the box.

 Soon in the 34th minute the Indian and Bengaluru skipper Sunil Chhetri doubled the lead for the visitors by heading the ball into the net following a corner kick by Spanish mid-fielder Dimas Delgado. Prior to that in the 32nd minute, Jamshedpur captain Tiri’s defensive skills got the better of Udanta Singh who could not convert a half chance after receiving the ball from Fedor.

On the other hand, Jamshedpur’s first opportunity came in the form of a free kick in the 17th minute but Gurpreet Singh nicely pushed Azuka’s ball over the goalpost.

After the first half of the game ended with a 2-0 lead and a dominating performance by Albert Rocca’s boys, the home side, right at the first minute of the second half, substituted Sumeet Passi by bringing in an extra defender in the form of Anas Edathodika.

Gurpreet Singh and the Bengaluru goal post looked in some danger in the 47th and 49th minute. Gurpreet Singh got down to make the save on the first occasion when Nigerian striker Azuka Izu kicked a good ball from the left by Yumnam Raju which went inches over the goalpost.

Fortunes didn’t support Jamshedpur think-tank as well and Anas who was brought in place of Sumeet twisted his ankle and made way for midfielder Mehtab Hossain. Bengaluru FC also went with a defensive approach for 30 minutes of the game by replacing striker Udanta Singh with midfielder Boithang Haokip. Soon Albert Rocca also called back Spanish midfielder Antonio Rodriguez and went ahead with Aussie’ Erik Paartalu.

Backed by the crowd, the home side kept on pressing hard and for the last 15 minutes Steve Coppell rested defender Andre Bikey and sent striker Kervens Belfort into the pitch.

Jamshedpur FC failed to convert a golden opportunity to reduce the margin as Bengaluru FC goalie Gurpreet saved a good kick from opposition skipper Tiri in the final 10 minutes of the game.

The five minutes of injury time was also not enough for the home team and Bengaluru FC managed to break the winning streak of Jamshedpur FC. Although Azuka Izu got a chance to score, he could not convert and in the end kicked the ball over the goalpost and the second half remained goalless for both the teams.

Bengaluru FC maintained around 60% possession in the game and extended their lead in the points table by securing three crucial points from this away win. They now have 37 points from 17 ISL matches this season. Gurpreet Singh of Bengaluru was awarded hero of the match for his excellent goalkeeping skills.

Football lovers came in good numbers to witness a quality game at the Kalinga Stadium. The stadium was a packed house and recorded a footfall of more than 8000 spectators for the Super Sunday clash between two top teams of the premier football championship in the country.

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