Bengaluru FC added an eighth consecutive win to their comeback story and confirmed a top-four finish with a 3-1 win over FC Goa in the Hero Indian Super League on Thursday. (More Football News)
Sivasakthi Narayanan added two more goals to his season's tally and Pablo Perez came on to score the third for the Blues as they ended Goa's playoff race and confirmed Odisha FC's entry as the sixth and final team in the playoffs.
Bengaluru FC won three consecutive corners in the first five minutes, and broke the deadlock with the last one. The ball was curled into the box for the third time by Roshan Naorem and an unmarked Narayanan headed it in from close range to give the hosts an early lead.
FC Goa needed a win to stay alive in the tournament.
Less than five minutes after the opener, Noah Sadaoui's cross from the left picked up a couple of deflections before ending up with Redeem Tlang. The winger got his shot away from a tight angle, but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had his near post covered. Tlang was denied by Gurpreet again minutes later, this time from 25 yards out.
At the other end of the pitch, a free kick from Naorem found Sunil Chhetri, who was denied by Dheeraj Moirangthem.
Parity was restored three minutes after the half-hour mark when Sadaoui was allowed time on the left flank to whip in an accurate cross that was tucked into the bottom right corner by Iker Guarrotxena.
Minutes later, under the Spaniard's pressure, Rohit Kumar failed to keep his header on target as the Blues failed to retake the lead almost instantly.
Bengaluru FC were presented with a chance to counter in the 78th minute. Suresh Wangjam's initial effort from that move was parried straight into the path of Narayanan, who made no mistake in slotting the ball into an empty net.
Nine minutes from time, Pablo Perez put the game beyond all doubt. After a midfield duel, the ball fell to Roy Krishna, who slid it through to the Spaniard on the left side of the box.
The substitute opened himself up and curled his shot into the top corner to end FC Goa's playoff race, and complete a league stage turnaround for Bengaluru FC.