ISL: Sunil Chhetri’s Hattrick Takes Bengaluru FC To The Final In Their First Season

| March 12 , 2018 , 14:42 IST

In a masterful performance by Sunil Chhetri on Sunday, the Indian captain led his Bengaluru FC side into the final in their first stint in Indian Super League. Bengaluru FC dismantled FC Pune City by 3-1, where Chettri scored all three goals.

After a goalless first leg tie on March 7 in Pune, the second leg on Sunday was the complete opposite.

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Before the match started, Pune had a narrow advantage since they had ensured Bengaluru don't score any away goals at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi. But as the second-leg progressed, it became apparent which team is better in terms of quality and who deserve to make the cut for the final.

Buoyed by playing in their backyard, coach Albert Roca’s Bengaluru FC started the match positively dominating the early exchanges. Chhetri came close to opening the score in the third minute but miscued a cross from Udanta Singh.

However, he made up for that effort in the 15th minute, as he headed the ball into the goal from Udanta’s another cross, in a moment of brief unawareness by FC Pune City’s defence.

Even though the first half didn’t see any other goal, Chhetri was a constant headache for the FC Pune City side, creating chances from both wings.

After the break, Pune showed urgency but nothing substantial came out of it. One of the biggest disappointments for them was the way Alfaro performed. Manager Ranko Popovic would have expected this strike force of Alfaro and Marcelinho will be at their best in an all-important game but it was only Marcelinho who kept Bengaluru defenders on their toes. Alfaro got a good chance in the 55th minute but his header from a great position went wide.

Unfortunately for FC Pune City, the thorn in their side had again stung them as Chhetri won a penalty in the 65th minute of the game and readily put it away by doing a cheeky Panenka.

Even though FC Pune City’s Jonatan Lucca converted a terrific free-kick from just outside the box in the 82nd minute, it wasn’t enough. Chhetri quashed all their dreams and hopes, as he exhibited predatory instincts to go past his marker and score his third goal of the game and sealing the tie once and for all.

Playing the ISL final at their home, it is no doubt that Bengaluru will be heavy favourites for the title. They will know their opponents by the end of Tuesday as Chennai will host FC Goa in their second-leg semi-final.