ISL 2022-23: Sivasakthi brace gives Bengaluru crucial win over Chennaiyin in playoff race

Sivasakthi Nayaranan and Roy Krishna celebrate the former opening the scoring for Bengaluru FC against Chennaiyin FC.
Sivasakthi Nayaranan and Roy Krishna celebrate the former opening the scoring for Bengaluru FC against Chennaiyin FC.
Shibu Preman / Focus Sports / ISL

Bengaluru FC made it four wins on the bounce, turning on the style in a 3-1 win over Chennaiyin FC, at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Saturday. A brace from Sivasakthi Narayanan (15', 23') and a goal from Rohit Kumar (30') took Simon Grayson's side to sixth position provisionally, with four games left to play. Chennaiyin, however, suffered a huge blow, slipping to eighth and five points behind the final playoff spot with five games left to play.

Both teams made quite a few forays into the opponents' defensive third in the first 15 minutes but clear-cut chances did not come either way.

However, when the first big chance of the game presented itself in the 15th minute, Sivasakthi Narayanan stepped up to score his third goal in four games. Bengaluru FC's counterattack following a corner, saw the ball fall to Roy Krishna. The Fijian released a long pass, past Chennayin's high line onto the path of Sivasakthi and the 22-year-old, who started from the middle of the pitch, showed his pace before calmly slotting past Samik Mitra.

The goal gave Bengaluru FC the impetus to add to the lead, and that is exactly what they did. It was Sivasakthi who found himself face-to-face once again with Mitra in the 23rd minute, as he pounced on a misplaced pass. And the youngster, yet again, kept his composure to slot the ball home and double Bengaluru's lead.

Just when the visitors attempted to find their feet after the setback, Rohit Kumar stepped up to score Bengaluru's third goal. Similar to Sivasakthi's second, the midfielder pounced on another misplaced pass in the final third, stealing possession from Jiteshwor Singh again, before rolling it past Mitra to make it 3-0.

Thomas Brdaric rang in three changes at half-time, bringing on the trio of Kwame Karikari, Gurmukh Singh and Edwin Vanspaul in place of Fallou Diagne, Anirudh Thapa and Vincy Barretto.

Chennaiyin had more of the ball in the opening exchanges of the second half and scored a goal when Julius Duker set Edwin Vanspaul through on Chennaiyin's right wing for the midfielder to curl one past Gurpreet into the net, to get Brdaric's side a goal back around the hour mark.

Bengaluru made their first change of the night in the 67th minute when Simon Grayson brought on Udanta Singh in place of Sivasakthi. Three minutes later, the Englishman replaced Danish Farooq with Javi Hernandez as Bengaluru FC looked to consolidate their lead on the night.

The final 10 minutes saw a range of activity on either bench as Chennaiyin made their final change of the game, bringing on Abdenasser El Khayati on for Julius Duker. Bengaluru FC, meanwhile, brought on the duo of Bruno Ramires and Pablo Perez to replace Rohit Kumar and Naorem Roshan Singh to see out the game - which the hosts managed to do.

Next up for Bengaluru FC is a trip to Kolkata, where they face ATK Mohun Bagan on Sunday, 5th February at the Salt Lake Stadium. Chennaiyin host Odisha FC on Thursday, 2nd February in another game crucial to their playoff hopes.