Bengaluru FC got their season off to a winning start after a late Alan Costa header saw them beat NorthEast United FC 1-0 at the Kanteerava Stadium, on Saturday.
Grayson had started with a front three of Chhetri-Krishna-Sivasakthi, while Costa, Aleks Jovanovic and Sandesh Jhingan were the three men at the back. The visitors, meanwhile started with Frenchman Romain Philippoteaux in an attacking role, with Matt Derbyshire the focal point.
Bengaluru had the first big chance of the game when Naorem Roshan sprinted down the left before pulling it back for Sivasakthi. The young striker's attempt to place the ball beyond Arindam Bhattacharja flew just inches wide.
NorthEast had a chance of their own soon after when Jithin MS picked up on a pass forward and ran through on goal, but Prabir Das did well to recover in time to make the challenge. Shots from Bruno Ramires and Suresh Wangjam went wayward as Bengaluru continued to press ahead. BFC came close just before half-time but Sivasakthi's shot from a Chhetri pass was deflected wide.
With the game goalless at the hour mark, Grayson made a double change, bringing on Javi Hernandez and Jayesh Rane for Suresh Wangjam and Krishna. Soon after, Bengaluru squandered yet another chance, this time, through Chhetri. Picking out a long pass from the back, Sivasakthi charged into the box and squared the ball for his captain who couldn't connect cleanly.
BFC then made an attacking change, bringing on Udanta Singh for Jovanovic. The winger made an instant impact, with his first involvement in the game a shot that flew over the bar. Moments later, Chhetri played a quick give-and-go with Udanta, but the skipper's eventual shot could only find the side netting.
In the 86th minute, Bengaluru won a corner that substitute Javi Hernandez swung in for Costa, who nodded down and incredibly under Arindam Bhattacharja. With four minutes added on, NorthEast United had the ball in the back of the net at the other end through Jon Gaztanaga however rather controversially, it was ruled out by the referee.