ISL 2023-24: Punjab FC cruise past Bengaluru FC 3-1 at home, move to ninth in points table

February 3, 2024
Punjab FC scored three goals past Bengaluru FC to secure a comfortable 3-1 victory in Round 13 of the Indian Super League

New Delhi, Feb 3 (IANS) Debutants Punjab FC scored three goals past Bengaluru FC to secure a comfortable 3-1 victory in Round 13 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season to move to ninth position in the table in the match played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.

Wilmar Jordan Gil, Luka Majcen and Madih Talal scored the goals for the home side while Sunil Chhetri scored the consolation goal for The Blues. This is the home side’s second victory of the season.

Punjab FC captain Luka Majcen and Colombian Wilmar Jordan Gil started together for the first time in the season as head coach Staikos Vergetis named his lineup in an attacking formation with Madih Talal heading the attacking line.

Bengaluru head coach Gerard Zaragoza handed new signing, Chinglensana Singh his debut and similar to his counterpart named a strong lineup for the match.

The home side started brightly in the opening exchanges, making the Bengaluru defence work hard. Luka Majcen and Wilmar Jordan combined well along with Madih Talal to create chances, but they could not capitalise on those with Ashis Pradhan missing the best of them.

Punjab FC got punished against the run of play as Sunil Chhetri’s glancing header from a Roshan Singh cross found the net giving the away side the lead.

The Shers struck back within eight minutes after a patient spell of play. Tekcham Abhishek Singh’s inviting ball in the box was brilliantly headed in the goal giving goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu no chance to react. Punjab could have increased their lead as they created a couple of chances but were denied by Gurpreet as both teams went into the break with the scores tied at one each.

Both teams looked for openings in the second half but clear-cut chances were of premium and the defenders from both sides stood their ground to thwart the attacks. Punjab defender Dimitrios Chatziisaias put in a diving challenge to deny Ryan Williams a clear shot on goal. Ravi Kumar also made a fine save from a Javi Hernandez volley to deny the Spaniard another spectacular goal in the season.

The home side took the lead in the 72nd minute through a perfect counterattack that started from Luka and ended with Luka. Luka set free Madih Talal from the centre of the pitch and the Frenchman played a perfect one-touch pass on the path of Luka, who kept his composure and coolly finished past Gurpreet.

Bengaluru could have equalised soon, but Sunil Chhetri missed a free header. Punjab increased their lead in the 77th minute through Madih Talal. The midfielder pounced on a mistake by Blues defender Aleksandar Jovanovic and chipped the ball into the goal above the advancing Gurpreet Singh. The home side saw off the rest of the match to resume the season with an emphatic victory.

Punjab FC moved to ninth position with 11 points from 13 matches while Bengaluru FC dropped to 10th with 11 points. Punjab FC will face Kerala Blasters FC on 12th February at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.

–IANS/bsk/

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