Sunil Chhetri’s historic goal went in vain as Hyderabad FC edged past Bengaluru FC 2-1 to consolidate their lead at the top of the table in the Hero Indian Super League at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Friday.
Chhetri became the all-time top scorer with his 50th goal but by the time the legendary marksman got his name on the scoresheet, Hyderabad were already leading 2-0 with first-half goals from Javier Siviero (16th) and Joao Victor (30th).
The result means Hyderabad now have 29 points from 16 games, four more than second-placed Jamshedpur FC who have played two matches less. Bengaluru remain third with 23 in their kitty from 16 outings.
The marquee clash got off to a fiery start as both teams looked to press and not let the opponent enjoy possession. Hyderabad stringed together some good passes and one such move resulted in an early goal for the table toppers. Ogbeche tried to turn in a cross whipped in from the left flank but could not connect well, only for Siviero to pull the trigger and beat Gurpreet Singh Sandhu for pace as the keeper got a hand to it but it wasn’t enough to keep the ball out of the net.
Hyderabad kept pressing after drawing first blood and at the half-hour mark, doubled their lead, this time a training ground drill working wonders. Souvick Chakraborty and Joao Victor combine from a free-kick with the latter moving to his right and firing home a low shot that nestled into the bottom right corner.
In the second half, Bengaluru tried hard to get back in the game but could not deliver the goods in the final third as Hyderabad held firm. Bengaluru’s industry paid off three minutes to full time when Chhetri became the all-time highest scorer in the league with his 50th goal.
Cleiton Silva fed Udanta on his right with a delectable ball and the pacy winger crossed for Chhetri who found the back of the net with aplomb.