Three for Sunil Chhetri, Win for Bengaluru FC.
Bengaluru FC completely drowned the Stallions Pune City FC as they defeated the Pune side 3-1 on aggregate in the second leg semi-final of Hero Indian Super League(ISL) at the Sree Kranteerava Stadium on Sunday. Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri(15’, 65’, 89’) bagged a hat-trick to direct his team to the maiden final of ISL. Jonathan Lucca(82’) scored a consolation goal for the Pune City FC.
Bengaluru FC came with a clear intention and it reflected. At the 3rd minute, Udanta Singh made a low pass from the right flank and it was well collected by Sunil Chhetri. But Sunil Chhetri failed to score from such a distance.
Two minutes later, Pune also had a clear chance when Diego Carlos had a chance to break the deadlock. Diego Carlos shot took a deflection but custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was prepared for it as he palmed it for a corner kick.
At the 15th minute, Sunil Chhetri opened the windows for the Blues. Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh paired up as the Pune’s defence made a mistake and Udanta Sigh exploited that chance. Udanta squared the ball to Sunil, Sunil also squared the ball to Udanta on the right side. Udanta made a cross to the unchecked player Sunil Chhetri as his header went past custodian Kaith to score the first goal of the night.
Around the half hour mark, Stallions had a chance. Emiliano Alfaro through passed to Brazilian, Marcelinho inside the box. Marcelinho made a cross from the left but nobody was there to pick it as the chance went in vain.
At the 42nd minute, Sunil Chhetri almost bagged his brace. Erik Paartalu took the corner-kick and the Indian international launched himself in the air to take the header but the latter’s header just went wide of the intended target.
At the end of first half of play, Bengaluru FC leads with 1-0 over Pune City FC.
After the resumption of the game, Udanta Singh attempted a screamer when his shot from outside the penalty box missed just by an inch as Pune’s custodian Vishal Kaith kept spectating.
In the 55th minute, Emiliano Alfaro missed the header and the ball was collected by Diego Carlos whose shot kissed the side nets.
After 65 minutes of play, Bengaluru FC found their second goal of the night. Sunil Chhetri made a run with the ball from the left and skipped past Pune’s defender, Sarthak Golui but the latter tackled from behind to bring down the Bengaluru’s skipper inside the box. Sunil Chhetri himself took the spot kick and kept his calm cool as a cucumber as he fooled Vishal Kaith with a Panenka.
Four minutes later, Rahul Bheke cushioned a headed clearance with his chest but his shot hit the woodwork. Three minutes later, Sunil Chhetri again tried to test the keeper as he curled the ball into the far post but Vishal Kaith palmed the ball away.
Pune sighted a breath of relief as they scored in the 82nd minute. Pune City was awarded a free-kick and Jonathan Lucca stepped up to take the set-piece. Jonathan Lucca’s curled the ball inside the net as Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had no answer as he kept it watch bulging into the net.
But Bengaluru FC hit the last nail into the coffin at the 89th minute when again Sunil Chhetri scored from a brilliant pass from Dimas Delgado after he went past Rohit Kumar. Sunil Chhetri busted through the legs of Vishal Kaith to fix their claws on victory.
The referee blew the whistle and the Eagles proved heavy on the Stallions as they completely rout them 3-1 on aggregate. Pune City FC now bows out of ISL 2017-18.
Bengaluru FC makes it to the final after their skipper Sunil Chhetri led from the front and lived by an example after he scored a Hat-trick for the Blues.