Kolkata, Dec 11: Bengaluru FC maintained their position at the top of the table with a hard fought 3-2 win over Mohammedan Sporting under hostile conditions in the Airtel I-League football at the Salt Lake Stadium here Wednesday.
Sunil Chhetri, who’s making scoring a brace a habit, turned up with another pair after John Menyongar gave Bengaluru FC the lead.
A goalkeeping blunder by Pawan Kumar and Josimar Martins’ let the hosts equalise two times in a game that saw the disgruntled home fans hurl stones and chairs at the pitch.
Keen to keep their away winning run alive, Bengaluru got off on the perfect note when, from a well-worked short corner routine, John Menyongar rifled in an opener in the 21st minute. Receiving the ball from Beikho, the diminutive Liberian turned Ishfaq Ahmed the wrong way in the box before firing low with his left.
Mohammedan Sporting sniffed but without sting as Bengaluru came close through Sean Rooney, whose going a yard ahead made it tough for him to bundle home Rino Anto’s cross.
Just when Bengaluru looked like protecting the lead into half time, Pawan Kumar made a hash of what was a simple collection to gift Mohammedan Sporting an equaliser they gladly accepted.
A harmless punt came off John Johnson’s boot and bounced straight to Pawan who suffered a momentary lapse of concentration only to find the ball slip out of his hands and into the goal.
Refusing to let the blip dictate the way they would tackle the second half, Bengaluru FC grabbed the lead in the 47th minute through what was easily the goal of the game.
Employing a well-rehearsed training ground routine off a corner, Beikho cut one back for Chhetri who escaped the crowd and turned to find the ball before smashing home a beauty that ended in the roof of the net.
But Mohammedan Sporting struck again in the 57th minute when Josimar pounced on a loose ball to make it 2-2. An attack from the right saw an Ashim Biswas attempt on goal pushed away by Pawan only for the Brazilian striker to bundle home from close.
Backed by a boisterous crowd, Mohammedan Sporting looked to take the game to Bengaluru FC. Collin Abranches, Syed Rahim Nabi and Penn Orji hovered on the flanks but the attempts from their crosses were either defended or off target.
The curse of the corner eventually killed Mohammedan Sporting when Chhetri scored his eighth goal of the season, heading home from Beikhokhei’s delivery in the 71st minute. Bengaluru FC survived some anxious moments at the death of the game that saw Bruno Colaco coming on for Pawan who suffered what looked like a groin strain.