Johnson strike sends Bengaluru FC to top of I-League table

A first-half strike by John Johnson helped Bengaluru FC beat United Sports Club by a solitary goal in their third round match of the Airtel I-League at the Bengaluru football stadium.

The win propelled the Bangalore outfit to the top of the table with seven points from three matches.

On the other hand, this was United SC's first loss in three matches after the Kolkata side had won their first two games at home.

It was in the fourth minute of the match when man-of-the-match Johnson headed in a perfect corner by Beikhokhei Beingaichho to register his second goal in the ongoing I-League.

 Johnson strike sends Bengaluru FC to top of I-League table

Chhetri in action for Bengaluru against United. AIFF

Apart from scoring the winner, Johnson stood like a wall in the Bengaluru FC defence. His presence was very much evident as he frustrated the deadly duo of Ranti Martins and Eric Brown with his calm.

The hosts were the dominant side right from the kick-off forcing the visitors to rely more on counter attacks.

The hosts could have doubled their lead in the 18th minute but Keegan Pereira failed to convert from close range.

Thereafter unmarked Sean Rooney also missed a sitter as he headed the ball straight to rival goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee.

In between, United SC had their chances too. In the 24th minute, Ranti failed to slot it past Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Pawan Kumar and 13 minutes later, he shot it wide from inside the box.

Changing over, Bengaluru FC created two chances in the first two minutes itself. First, a Sunil Chhetri header sailed over and then, Rooney, all in the clear, just couldn't direct his header into the net off a cross from Pereira.

United SC tried to regroup. They did enjoy possession but failed to penetrate the Bengaluru defence. In the 80th minute, United coach Eelco Schattorie was sent-off by the referee for constantly infringing upon he technical area.

Bengaluru FC will next face Kolkata's Mohammedan Sporting at home on October 10.

Unable to get the goal they wanted, Bengaluru were comfortable sitting back, giving a fantastic defensive display in the bargain.

Curtis Osano and Johnson were reliable as always in the centre of defence while Menyongar and Caldeira were happy to ping the ball around in the middle.

The Blues squandered a gilt-edged chance when Caldeira slid one in for Sean Rooney who shot tamely as the first half drew to an end.

Ranti Martins had a subdued game and coach Eelco Schattorie, who was sent off in the second half, admitted he thought of substituting the striker.

"It all boiled down to fitness and we failed. We lacked power and sharpness and Bengaluru were good in defence. The goal they scored was a good one but as a keeper, you have to get out and punch those," said a distraught Schattorie.

Coach Ashley Westwood was pleased with the improvement his boys have been showing with every passing game.

"We're setting our standards and getting our tactics right like we did today."

Bengaluru did have some nervous moments toward the end but did well to see home safe.


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Updated Date: Oct 07, 2013 19:02:13 IST