Indian Super League

ISL semi-final 2nd leg, as it happened: Sunil Chhetri’s hat-trick fires Bengaluru FC into final

The first leg between the teams ended in a cagey 0-0 draw.

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Bengaluru fans do the Poznan. As mentioned earlier, it would take a massive, massive upset to upstage the rampant Blues.

BENGALURU FC ARE IN THE FINAL

Full-time: There is barely any time as the referee blows the whistle, which is welcomed by a massive roar. What a performance by the home side, who could have nearly half-a-dozen goals had they been more ruthless in front of goal. There is no stopping them and Chennaiyin or FC Goa have an almighty task on their hands. Chhetri in this form is simply unstoppable.

93’ Bengaluru 3-1 Pune Pune’s final chance is taken by Marcelinho, whose free-kick rattles off the woodwork. That may not have made a difference as there is very little time left on the clock.

88’ GOAL! Bengaluru 3-1 Pune (Sunil Chhetri) Cometh the hour, cometh Chhetri. Once again, he proves that he is head and shoulders above everyone at this level. That was calmly done and should surely be enough to take his team to the final. There are acres of space at the back. Chhetri pounces on the through ball, cuts in, composes himself and rifles it past the reach of Kaith. That completes his hat-trick

87’ Bengaluru 2-1 Pune One again, frantic scenes at both ends of the pitch. First, Kaith comes nearly 30 yards out to steal the ball from Chhetri. At the other end, Lopez’s low cross misses the target

82’ GOAL! Bengaluru 2-1 Pune (Jonathan Lucca) Is there a twist in the tale? Lucca comes on and gives his side a fighting chance of going through. The free-kick had a Beckham-esque curl to it, leaving Gurpreet with no chance. The ball hit the roof of the net and Pune are in with a chance. This is going down to the wire. It will be a shame if Lucca’s goal isn’t good enough to seal a win.

72’ Bengaluru 2-0 Pune Almost a hat-trick there! Chhetri receives the ball from Paartalu from the right-flank and hits a shot from outside the box. The ball, though, falls safely in the palms of Kaith. Credit to Sarthak for cutting down the angles for his opposite number.

65’ Bengaluru 2-0 Pune What a strike! Everyone wants to have a go now and Rahul Bheke unleashes a beautiful shot from the outside of his boot. The ball dips and rattles the post. Kaith didn’t bother reaching for that one. Pune are slowly falling apart.

65’ GOAL!! Bengaluru 2-0 Pune (Sunil Chhetri) That was a cheeky panenka from Chhetri. What a time to bring it. The execution could have been better as it fell on the left, just where Kaith had dived. Unfortunately for the keeper, he had already committed and had little time to react. The ball looped over him and found the net. Twelfth of the season for Chhetri and are cruising to the final in some style

63’ Penalty for Bengaluru. Sarthak holds back Chhetri and the referee has no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

62’ BEN 1-0 PUN End-to-end stuff slugfest at the moment with both teams’ midfield pouring forward. Pune continue to be porous at the back, allowing Bengaluru to take shots..hang on

54’ BEN 1-0 PUN Good spell for Pune. First, there is a penalty shout for Subhashish’s challenge on Marcelinho. Nothing doing, says the referee. Alfaro gets another opportunity for a header and once again, it’s out of his reach. Stankovic gets an opportunity from close range but could only find the side netting from an acute angle.

50’ BEN 1-0 PUN Wide! Udanta found space from 25 yards out and his shot narrowly missed the target. That was close and Kaith was stranded in his area. Lovely technique from the winger, deploying the chip with great effect.

47’ BEN 1-0 PUN Alfaro gets a half-chance as Diego Carlos’s powerful run down the right and cross found the Uruguayan in space. The header, though, went over the bar. Neat stuff from Pune but they need more bite in attack to breach the Bengaluru fortress.

Half-time BEN 1-0 PUN It has been all Bengaluru at the Kanteerava. Pune’s high line has been cut to ribbons by the vision and trickery of Chhetri as well as the pace of Udanta Singh. The winger in particular has been a revelation. None of Pune’s attempts on goal tested Gurpreet while Chhetri could have had a hat-trick to his name had he been a little more ruthless in front of goal. Nonetheless, Pune are only one goal behind and a goal can change the complexion on the tie completely.

41’ BEN 1-0 PUN Small margins. And that is what Pune are surviving by. Chhetri’s second goal looks imminent as he takes another shot from inside the box. It narrowly fizzed past the post.

29’ BEN 1-0 PUN Bengaluru are momentarily are under pressure as Marcelinho runs at the heart of the opposition defence. One cross missed a target and another shot was snuffed out by Gurpreet.

27’ BEN 1-0 PUN And...the shots keep on coming as Pune are now severely under the cosh. The visitors have been ragged in defence and a more ruthless outfit would have been three goals up by this stage. Udanta got a chance in the box from a corner but missed his volley. Pune survive.

24’ BEN 1-0 PUN No response from Pune so far. The visitors are playing a high-line and so far, they have been exposed on a couple of occasions by Udanta’s pace. Chhetri nearly added another one to his name after racing ahead of the defence to meet a long ball. Kaith showed good presence of mind to rush out of goal and clear.

16’ GOAL! BEN 1-0 PUN (Sunil Chhetri) This was a long time coming as Udanta was making several inroads on the right flank. The winger was once again in the thick of things and this time, he was released by Chhetri, who made two superb turns in the middle of the park. At the far post, the Bengaluru skipper made a clever run and his looping header beat Kaith and the Pune defenders to roll into the net. Deafening noise at the Kanteerava but that was sloppy from Pune and brilliant from the Indian veteran.

3’ BFC 0-0 FCPC What a start we have to the game. Carlos cuts in from the edge of the box and takes a shot, which takes a deflection and leaves Gurpreet flat-footed but the goalkeeper’s sharp reflexes takes the ball over the bar. The resulting corner sees Pune get another chance with Panwar finding space at the edge of the box but he skewed his shot miles over the bar. This game could have easily been 1-1 by now. Bengaluru’s Johnson has momentarily left the field to undergo treatment.

2’ BFC 0-0 FCPC What a chance! Terrific intricate play from Bengaluru, Miku’s deft first-touch set Udanta through, and his right-wing cross landed at a comfortable height to Chhetri. Alas, the skipper’s finish was a couple of feet wide of goal. That was terrific stuff from the home side.

We are all set for the kick-off. The West Block Blues have turned up in large numbers. Here are the lineups.

Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet (GK), Bheke, Juanan, Johnson, Haokip, Bose, Paartalu, Delgado, Singh, Miku, Chhetri (C).

FC Pune City: Kaith (GK), Gurtej, Lopez, Panwar, Khan, Stankovic, Kumar, Vanmalsawma, Carlos, Alfaro, Pereira (C).

7:45 pm: Benglauru are going with the the lineup that made them become the team to beat in the final leg of group stages. Rohit and Stankovic hold the key for Pune. Eric Paartalu is expected to play a holding role, which will allow Dimas, Udanta, Boithang and Chhetri to play behind Miku. No surprises in the Pune XI.

The Lineups are out:

Hello and welcome to the live updates of the second leg of the semi-final clash between FC Pune City and Bengaluru FC. The first leg at the Balewadi Stadium ended in a drab 0-0 draw between the two sides. It was not as though the Stallions didn’t have chances to score and their frontmen, Emiliano Alfaro and Marcelinho looked in solid touch. They will be the key once if they have to enter the ISL final for the first time.

Bengaluru, on the other hand, played it safe in the first leg but things could be a lot different here. One expects the pace of winger Udanta Singh to be a vital cog going forward. Udanta came on from the bench in Pune. It remains to be seen if youngster Aashique will play a role after he was stretchered off in the first half on Thursday.

Bengaluru’s massive legion of home fans may make a difference. Towards the final rounds of the group stages, the Blues were almost unstoppable at home after crashing to back-to-back defeats against Chennaiyin and Jamshedpur in the early stages of the tournament. Pune can breathe easy, considering that the last time they were at Kanteerava, they managed to eke out a 1-1 draw, a scoreline that would take them through to the final.

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