Riding on goals from Jayesh Rane and Sunil Chhetri, Bengaluru FC notched up a 2-0 win over Jamshedpur FC to reach the final of the Super Cup football tournament in Kozhikode on Friday.
The result meant that Simon Grayson’s men reached a third final of the 2022-23 season, having made the summit clash of both the Durand Cup and the Indian Super League.
Grayson named an unchanged eleven ahead of the game, with Sandesh Jhingan marshalling the Blues’ backline alongside Bruno Silva, flanked by Naorem Roshan Singh and Namgyal Bhutia.
In attack, skipper Chhetri partnered Roy Krishna, with Udanta Singh deployed down the right. The visitors, meanwhile, had Daniel Chima Chukwu back in the mix alongside Rafael Crivellaro, who was rested for their final group stage encounter.
Jamshedpur had the first chance of the game when striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas had a hit from a distance that forced Gurpreet Sandhu into a save, only for the ball to fall kindly at Chukwu’s feet.
The Nigerian, in acres of space and with time on his hands, attempted to poke home, only for the Blues’ custodian to block it.
Gurpreet was called into action once again by Emmanuel-Thomas, whose attempt deflected and fell kindly for Boris Thangjam, only for the full-back to see his effort saved from close range.
The Blues had their first chance of the game when Udanta skipped past his marker and found Chhetri in the box, but the Bengaluru skipper’s attempt to run onto a heavy first touch was blocked by Eli Sabia.
Bengaluru were forced into making a change late in the first half when Javi Hernandez, unable to continue after a knock, was replaced by Jayesh.
Into the second period, Bengaluru made further changes as Pablo Perez and Sivasakthi Narayanan replaced Rohit Kumar and Udanta just shy of the hour mark.
Bengaluru found the opener in the 67th minute when the substitutes combined, as Sivasakthi’s cross from the right flank fell kindly for Jayesh, who looped his header past a rooted TP Rehenesh in the Red Miners’ goal.
Grayson’s men came close to doubling the lead shortly after when Perez’s header saw Krishna through on goal, but Rehenesh read the Fijian striker well to stop him in his tracks with a save.
Aidy Boothroyd made a change of his own with a quarter of an hour left when Harrison Sawyer replaced Emmanuel-Thomas. However, it was the Blues who added to their lead when Sivasakthi found Krishna unmarked in the box.
The striker’s initial effort was saved, but Krishna managed to nod a pass down for Chhetri, who slotted into an empty net to make it 2-0, a lead the Blues would see through to the final whistle.
The Blues will face the winners of the second semifinal between Odisha FC and NorthEast United FC in the final on Tuesday.