Bengaluru FC’s search for a win in the Indian Super League continued with a 3-3 draw against Punjab FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday, November 30.
The visitors took the lead on two occasions, going 3-1 up at one stage, before goals from Main and Javi on either side of the break saw Bengaluru FC save a point.
Earlier, Blues’ boss Simon Grayson made three changes to the side that drew against NorthEast United FC on Sunday, with winger Ryan Williams replaced by Curtis Main in attack. Elsewhere, Robin Yadav made his full-debut as he was preferred over Namgyal Bhutia, while Suresh Wangjam made way for Harsh Patre. Staikos Vergetis made three changes to his Punjab FC side, with goalkeeper Ravi Kumar, defender Dimitrios Chatziisaias and winger Prasanth K brought into the mix to face the Blues.
The game got off to a cagey start, with both sides untidy in possession and failing to knit a meaningful string of passes. Efforts from Chhetri and Javi went wide of the mark before Punjab FC, against the run of play, took the lead through Prabhu, who poked a free-kick from Madih Talal past Gurpreet.
Bengaluru FC’s response was instant with Javi and Chhetri combining at the other end of the pitch to allow Patre an effort on goal that the youngster dispatched with a perfectly placed finish past Kumar in the Punjab goal. The visitors, however, would reclaim their lead only five minutes later, with Greek defender Dimitris Chatziisaias nodding his header over a hapless Gurpreet from a Suresh Meitei cross.
Bengaluru FC would find themselves two behind not long after when Juan Mera, running through at goal, flicked a deft back-heel for Majcen, who found himself in room to have a swipe from distance that would beat Gurpreet all ends up.
Grayson’s men reduced the deficit under fortuitous circumstances, with Kumar spilling a Roshan cross, allowing Main to pounce and make it 2-3 in first half extra-time. The Blues would make three changes at the break, with Keziah Veendorp, Shankar Sampingiraj and Halicharan Narzary withdrawn to be replaced by Suresh Wangjam, Sivasakthi Narayanan and Slavko Damjanovic.
Bengaluru FC started the stronger of the two outfits in the second period, and found the equaliser on the 68 minute mark when Roshan pinched possession down the flank and fed Chhetri. The skipper placed an inch-perfect pass for Javi, who drove into the box and slotted through Kumar’s legs to make it 3-3 on the night.
The hosts continued to push forward in their search for a winner and almost found one when Chhetri was played through on goal by Javi, but the striker’s effort was pushed away by Kumar with 72 minutes on the clock. The skipper then looked to link up with Main in injury time, but the Englishman wasn’t singing off the same song sheet as the game ended with the two sides sharing the spoils.
Bengaluru FC stay at home as Mumbai City FC arrive at the Kanteerava on December 8.