Vasco da Gama (Goa): SC East Bengal’s last match in the 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL) season resulted in a 1-0 defeat against Bengaluru FC, at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, here on Saturday.
Sunil Chhetri’s solitary strike (24′) proved to be the difference, bagging three points for Marco Pezzaiuoli’s men in the final fixture of their 2021-22 campaign.
The result meant that the Kolkata-based club finished the season in the bottom-place on the points table, with only one win in 20 matches. On the other hand, Bengaluru FC finished in sixth place as they secured 29 points overall.
Antonio Perosevic tested Lara Sharma in the goal from a free-kick situation early in the match but the custodian was steadfast in making the save.
The game was evenly balanced until a moment of individual brilliance from Sunil Chhetri broke the deadlock. The skipper controlled a long ball on his chest and slotted the shot into the bottom left corner to give the lead to the Blues in the 24th minute. Udanta Singh then came close to scoring but saw his long-range shot hit the crossbar at the stroke of half-hour.
The first half did not have any more goals apart from a lot of goalmouth action from both teams. The Red & Gold Brigade suffered a setback by losing Perosevic to an ankle injury, who was replaced by Marcelo Ribeiro. Due to a lack of cohesion in the final third, only one goal came from the first 45-minutes and BFC went into the halftime break with a one-goal advantage.
The second half saw a harder push for the second goal from Bengaluru FC. However, they handed a gift to Thongkhosiem Haokip at the hour mark after letting the ball fall to him behind the backline only for him to lift his chip way over the bar.
A whole host of changes were made by both tacticians to give time to youngsters and inject more energy in the match after the hour mark.
BFC came close yet again to extend their lead courtesy of Chhetri whose powerful drive was parried away by Suvam Sen in SCEB’s goal. Ananta Tamang and Sen had to combine a few minutes later to deny the second goal to Chhetri, keeping their team in the hunt. Despite SCEB’s best efforts, the Blues kept their lead intact and secured the three points.