Sports Bengaluru ISL

Bengaluru FC players Lalthuammawia Ralte and Miku celebrate during a Hero Indian Super League Match against NorthEast United FC. (Bengaluru FC Twitter photo) 

GUWAHATI — Bengaluru FC returned to its winning ways and assumed its place at the top of the Hero Indian Super League table after a narrow 1-0 victory over NorthEast United FC here Dec. 8.

Venezuelan striker Miku scored the only goal of the match for Bengaluru FC in the 47th minute to take their points tally to nine – the same as Chennaiyin FC – but the debutants from Bengaluru will be on top due to their better goal average.

There was a goalkeeping crisis at Bengaluru FC with two of their regular goalkeepers unavailable but the man who stepped in, Lalthuammawia Ralte, proved good enough for the visitors. 

He wasn't troubled much but whenever called into action, he made no mistake, particularly in the final minute of the match when he stopped a close-range attempt from Danilo Lopes.

Instead, it was NorthEast United that ws undone by a goalkeeping error from T.P. Rehenesh that led to the only goal of the match, 90 seconds after the second half had kicked off. 

The NorthEast goalkeeper blundered after receiving a back pass from Nirmal Chhetri. 

Instead of clearing the ball to safety, Rehenesh looked to play it for defender Jose Goncalves where Udanta Singh intercepted and picked up Miku who made no mistake with only the goalkeeper to beat.

NorthEast United never recovered from that setback and Bengaluru FC was experienced enough to shut the door. 

NorthEast forward Marcinho looked impressive in the first half and came close on two occasions but in the second session, he was not as effective.

Instead, it was Bengaluru FC that had the chance to kill the match when their rivals pushed more men forward. 

Substitute Lenny Rodrigues, who replaced captain Sunil Chhetri just after the half an hour mark, lost his footing with a gaping goal in front of him and another substitute, Braulio Nobrega, saw his attempt being blocked by the defender.

In the closing stages of the match, NorthEast got one final chance to get something out of this game. 

It was also the closest the team came to finding the equalizer but Danilo's well-timed effort from inside the box saw goalkeeper Ralte perfectly positioned to block the attempt.

A goalkeeper whose starting place in the team was in doubt eventually proved more than equal to the task. 

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