Bhubaneswar: I-League champions Chennai City FC underlined their might once again as they knocked holders Bengaluru FC out of the Super Cup with a 2-1 quarterfinal win at the Kalinga Stadium here.
Goals from Nestor Gordillo (15th) and Pedro Manzi (54th) put Chennai ahead before Sunil Chhetri – who had missed a penalty when the Blues were a goal down – nodded home from a corner (65th) to give Carles Cuadrat’s men a chance to claw back into the game.
Bengaluru ran into an inspired show from goalkeeper Mauro Boerchio who did more than just well to keep the ball out from hitting the back of his net on several occasions.
Chennai, resorting to play the ball long, used the route to grab the opener in the 15th minute, but it was more to do with an error in the Bengaluru defence that let Gordillo score.
A breakdown in communication between Harmanjot Khabra and Rahul Bheke in attempting to deal with a long punt, saw Gordillo capitalise and score past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
The Blues had chances in quick succession and then through the rest of the half, but much to Carles Cuadrat’s frustration, they didn’t manage to put anything away. Xisco Hernandez, Miku and Sunil Chhetri – all saw attempts on goal kept out by Mauro Boerchio in Chennai’s goal.
Udanta Singh, on the right, was making life for the Chennai defenders rather uncomfortable, beating them with both pace and skill. However, the winger could only watch in agony as there was no blue shirt at the end of a couple of very dangerous crosses that simply needed tapping home from close.
Chhetri had the chance to pull Bengaluru level in the 51st minute when he had his shirt tugged in the Chennai box by Romario, prompting the referee to point to the spot. But Boerchio guessed the skipper’s take from the spot correctly to keep it out.
The miss would soon come to haunt Bengaluru who minutes later, went behind for a second time. Bringing down a long drive from Sandro, Manzi cut on to his right before curling the ball past Gurpreet to make it 2-0.
With an already-booked Harmanjot Khabra standing the risk of getting sent off along with the need to attack, Cuadrat rang in a double change, bringing on Boithang Haokip and Albert Serran for the Bengaluru defender and Xisco.
The Bengaluru skipper soon made amends for his miss, calmly rising to direct a header home from a corner in the 65th minute and give the Blues a way back into the game. The Blues could have had an equaliser minutes later when Chhetri picked Dimas Delgado with a pass only for the ‘keeper to tip over the Spaniard’s goal-bound header.
It seemed to be Boerchio’s night when he managed to get to a shot from Chhetri that looked almost certain to roll in, in the 87th minute, as Chennai saw out the game.