A brace by Javi Hernandez helped Bengaluru FC register their second victory of the Indian Super League 2022-23 season, as they beat FC Goa 2-0 at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Saturday.
The win sees Simon Grayson’s boys climb to eighth place on the points table with 8 points. The Gaurs, meanwhile, remain at fourth place with 12 points following their third defeat of the season.
Earlier in the day, FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena rang in two changes to the playing XI that took on ATK Mohun Bagan last Sunday, as Princeton Rebello earned his first start of the season and Noah Sadaoui replaced Redeem Tlang.
The Gaurs began the first half with a bang, as Sadaoui took a shot on goal in the 2nd minute itself. BFC goalkeeper Gurpreet, however, had other plans as he made a stunning save to deny the Moroccan international.
Two minutes later, the Blues got their first chance to score through a free-kick from around 30 yards out but the chance went begging as Javi Hernandez skied his attempt.
What followed was a period of end-to-end footballing action with both teams making inroads into each other’s penalty box a number of times. A lack of bite in finishing meant that the scoresheet remained on level terms until the 26th minute, when Javi himself broke the deadlock for Bengaluru FC.
It was Roy Krishna who orchestrated the goal, as he won the ball with a challenge on Anwar Ali and advanced to the penalty box before laying the ball off for Javi. The Spaniard, in turn, beat Dheeraj Singh as he placed his shot into the far corner of the net.
The strike, which came against the run of play, served as a wake-up call for the Men in Orange, who doubled their efforts in search for an equalizer.
Their best chance in the first half came in the 37th minute, when Alvaro Vazquez fired one into the near post off a free-kick. Gurpreet, however, turned hero once again for Simon Grayson’s men as he made a diving save to ward off any danger.
Following the change of ends, Bengaluru FC played with renewed vigour and it reflected in their second goal which happened in the 57th minute. This time, it was Princeton who gave the ball away to Javi, who then quickly rounded off Dheeraj and slotted into an empty net.
Once again, the Gaurs responded with a flurry of attacks on the BFC goal, with Alvaro Vazquez alone accounting for three of them.
The former Spain junior international first took a shot on goal that was saved by Gurpreet, before sending in two crosses which, however, failed to find the right man on both occasions.
In the 80th minute, Anwar Ali came inches away from finding the back of the net for FC Goa. His volleyed shot from over 30 yards was surely headed to the top corner, but Gurpreet pushed it away for a corner with his fingertips.
Carlos Pena’s boys continued to knock on their opponents’ doors for a consolation strike till the final whistle but in the end, it was not meant to be as Bengaluru FC took home the three points.