Nishu Kumar’s early strike was enough for the Blues to secure three points…
A brilliant Nishu Kumar (7′) strike secured three points for Bengaluru FC against Hyderabad at the Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday,

Bengaluru started the game on the front foot and pressed for the opener directly from the off. Dimas Delgado’s delivery in the corner has been directed at an unmarked Nishu in the border of the Hyderabad box. The full-back hit it clean on the half-volley to stun Hyderabad custodian Laxmikant Kattimani and rattle the back of the net.

The visitors’ response to moving down was quite favorable with Nikhil Poojary looking bright in the final third. The child was allowed too much space when he tested Gurpreet Singh Sandhu two minutes after Nishu’s goal. The Indian keeper remained on his feet to stop Poojary’s well-struck shot from distance.

Deshorn Brown and Udanta Singh combined to offer the hosts with a couple of big chances in the first half. But Kattimani was hardly tested, with Matthew Kilgallon doing well to stop the resistance from pulling the trigger.

The second big moment of the game came in the 22nd minute when the referee pointed to the spot after Suresh Wangjam brought down Marcelinho after a defence-splitting pass from Poojary. Gurpreet got the elevation and the leadership right to stop Marko Stankovic from restoring parity. He combined it with a double save to prevent Bobo from causing trouble on the overlap.

The second half was a story of Brown making a mess of the possibilities presented to him and Hyderabad collectively wasting theirs into the game.

The Jamaican was presented with three big chances in six minutes in the second half, two of which were one-on-one opportunities. Dimas and Sunil Chhetri made the final pass on two occasions but Brown could not make them count and was shortly replaced by Nili Perdomo.

Nestor Gordillo added some life to the attack after coming on but it was Liston Colaco who came closest to getting that equaliser in injury time. The 21-year-old exchanged passes with Adil Khan at the edge of Bengaluru’s box before muscling his way inside and getting a shot on target. But Gurpreet pulled off a brilliant reflex save to deny the former FC Goa player.

It wasn’t pretty, but the hosts collected all three points to keep their fight for the top-spot alive.