BENGALURU: Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca promised to break the Mumbai FC jinx and to set the record straight prior to the game. And he achieved what former coach Ashley Westwood could not, dishing out a 3-0 thrashing to Mumbai, courtesy CK Vineeth’s fantastic hat-trick (45+1, 57th and 65th) in their third round I-League clash at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday.
Vineeth has been on fire recently. He finished with five goals and three assists in six matches for Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League and played a crucial role in their journey to the final.
He has managed to carry on in the same vein for Bengaluru. He had struck in the 79th minute against Chennai City FC in his second appearance of the season. Roca has trusted the wiry attacker from Kerala, handing him a place in the starting XI, replacing Daniel Lalhlimpuia. Vineeth didn’t disappoint. He combined well with Udanta Singh and Harmanjot Khabra, who was the craftsman for Vineeth’s two goals, to bag his and BFC’s first hat-trick in the I-League.
The final scoreline might show Santosh Kashyap’s boys in poor light, but that wasn’t the case in the first half. Mumbai started well and kept probing inside the BFC half. But defensive duo of John Johnson and Juanan Gonzalez stood tall, thwarting them time and again. Mumbai’s lone forward Victorino Fernandes remained isolated for the most part of the match.
In the second half, the scenario changed as Kashyap chose to stay back and defend to prevent leaking further goals. But the move failed miserably as BFC forwards wreaked havoc and Mumbai’s poor defensive display cost them two further goals from Vineeth. Kashyap agreed that his tactical change didn’t work. “We kept fighting but after the first goal we chose to change tactics which didn’t work out well. But we didn’t let them create many chances in the second half although they enjoyed most of the possession,” he said.
Roca looked visibly pleased with his choice up top but demanded consistency from Vineeth. “I’m very happy with Vineeth. He has done a great job. But he has to be consistent as there are many strikers on the bench waiting to play in his position,” said Roca.
After this game, Bengaluru will head to Kolkata where they will take on fellow title contenders East Bengal on January 22. “It’s important to continue winning. We’re far away from our target and we’ve to be consistent to achieve that. I’m not thinking about East Bengal or any other away game. My target is to take it one match at a time,” Roca signed off.