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Bengaluru FC in ominous form ahead of play-offs

Makes light of playing a man down to hammer FC Goa, moves to the top of the table

Bengaluru FC had endured a slight dip in form going into Thursday’s clash at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, but there will now be hardly any question marks over the team’s preparedness for the ISL playoffs.

Carles Cuadrat’s men delivered a stunning performance against FC Goa, rebounding from a first-half red card to flatten the opponent 3-0.

Nishu Kumar’s dismissal in the 42nd minute — when the tie was still goalless — appeared to have titled the balance in Goa’s favour, but BFC hammered three second-half goals, playing with aggression, control and a fighting spirit.

Cuadrat was incensed by Nishu’s sending off, and made his feelings known to the referee, Pranjal Banerjee, in no uncertain terms. The defender was initially booked in the 25th minute, for tugging Jackichand Singh back.

Nishu was carded a second time soon after, when he was deemed to have elbowed the same player as they leapt for the ball. The game had been a tense, entertaining affair till that point and it seemed the contest would now turn lopsided.

It did, but just not how most people may have imagined. A free-kick into the box from the left flank was flicked on by Miku, and Juanan controlled the ball on his chest before drilling it past the goalkeeper in emphatic fashion. Sunil Chhetri, who was watching from the stands, exploded in delight.

Goa pushed higher up the pitch in search of the equaliser, but minutes later, Sergio Lobera’s men were carved open on the counter-attack. Dimas Delgado sent a delightful ball over the top for Udanta Singh and the latter stormed through on goal to thrash home BFC’s second. The two players were in sublime form on the night, and were arguably the home side’s finest.

Goa was guilty of some poor finishing, and has itself to blame for wasting a number of chances. Brandon Fernandes hit the bar from close range and Hugo Boumous inexplicably fired over when he had the goal at his mercy.

BFC was not complaining. Miku, who had not scored since he returned from injury, put the result beyond doubt with a fine strike. The Venezuelan gathered the ball, drifted past his marker, and found the net from 25 yards out with a shot that nestled in the top right corner.

BFC moved to the top of the table with the win, but this result will mean a lot more than just three points.

The result: Bengaluru FC 3 (Juanan 50, Udanta Singh 58, Miku 69) bt FC Goa 0.

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