Two second-half goals from Jayesh Rana and Sunil Chhetri carried Bengaluru FC to the final of the Super Cup 2023, defeating Jamshedpur FC 2-0 in the semi-final at the EMS Corporation Stadium, here on Friday.
The win means Bengaluru reached their third final of the season, having previously featured in the Durand Cup and ISL finals.
In the final to be played next Tuesday at the same venue, Bengaluru FC will face the winners of Saturday's second penultimate round encounter between Odisha FC and NorthEast United FC.
On Friday night, the two sides displayed good passing football and produced an end-to-end game. In the first quarter of the match, Jamshedpur had more flair in the attacks and came tantal tantalisingly close to scoring on more than one occasion.
In the very third minute, Daniel Chima Chukwu had an attempt at the rival goal from outside the box. Bengaluru custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had to stretch himself fully to pull off a save. He was also quick enough to come to his team's rescue when Jay Emmanuel-Thomas tried to find the net off the rebound.
Ritwik Das too played a role in initiating attacks for Jamshedpur from the left, using his pace and creating some dangerous moves in the final third as Jamshedpur took control of the game. In the 17th minute, Thomas came close to putting the ball over the line following a penetrating run through the heart of the Bengaluru defence. But his final effort from close range was blocked by Gurpreet once again.
On the other hand, Udanta Singh led the counter-attacking moves for Simon Grayson's men. Overall, in the first half, Bengaluru FC registered no shots on target as opposed to Jamshedpur's three.
The Indian Super League 2022-23 finalists came up reinvigorated after the breather. A few tactical substitutions also turned out to be impactful as they inched closer toward the Jamshedpur goal.
Finally, in the 67th minute, Jayesh Rane put them in the lead with a brilliantly placed header into the bottom right corner. Much credit for the goal goes to youngster N Sivasakthi, who dribbled past a defender and delivered a dipping lob into the box from the right, which reached Rane off the head of a defender.
Having taken the lead, Bengaluru found its rhythm and looked hungry for more goals. Within five minutes of the first goal, Roy Krishna broke through when he capitalised on an error committed by Jamshedpur defence and had only goalkeeper TP Rehenesh to beat. However, the goalkeeper could read the Fijian striker's move and denied him a goal.
By this time, Bengaluru saw themselves in the driver's seat and looked like a far better team than they were in the first session. On the other hand, Jamshedpur kept chasing the ball in search of an equaliser.
In the 84th minute, Sunil Chhetri doubled Bengaluru's lead and virtually put the game to bed. Krishna once again saw himself coming up against Rehenesh and the latter did amazingly well to stave off his effort. But Krishna went on to head the rebound toward Chhetri and the skipper made no mistake in slotting it home.
( 544 Words)