Bengaluru FC registered their first win in more than six weeks with a 0-1 victory over Minerva Punjab FC in the 2016-17 I-League in Ludiana on Sunday.
Lenny Rodrigues' 17th minute strike was enough to see out the game for the visitors as they reversed a nine-game winless streak in all competitions.
Surinder Singh made six changes to the side that was held by Mumbai FC. Sang-Min Kim and Deepak Devrani came in defense while the attack too had a revamp with Girish Khosla, Germanpreet Singh, Victor Amobi and Fanai Lalrempuia coming into the side.
Albert Roca too made three changes as his side desperately looked for a win. Nishu Kumar replaced Harmanjot Singh Khabra while John Johnson also returned to the side. Their new recruit Marjan Jugovic too started in attack alongside CK Vineeth and Sunil Chhetri.
In spite of having three central defenders in the side, Roca opted to go for a four man defense with Sandesh Jhingan and Nishu Kumar on either side of Johnson and Juanan in the centre. Sunil Chhetri played a withdrawn role as Marjan started upfront flanked on either side by CK Vineeth and Udanta Singh.
The home side crafted a chance in the fifth minute of the match itself with Germanpreet's cross finding Amobi in the middle only for Arindam to pull off a smart save to deny the header. Immediately afterwards, Girik Khosla had beaten the central defense for pace and put his header over but was given offside in any case.
It was the reigning champions though who surged into the lead following a Cameron Watson corner in the 17th minute. Lenny Rodrigues was left completely unmarked and his header could only be parried onto the bar and into the goal by Arnab Das Sharma.
Minutes later, Sunil Chhetri did ever so well to surge down the left after CK Vineeth had initiated the move. However, his dink into the box towards Marjan saw him completely miss the ball, which could have otherwise been a customary tap in.
At the half hour mark, off a counterattack David Ngaihte came in from the left before spreading it across to an onrushing Lalrempuia whose first time strike had Arindam scrambling but was just wide off the left post.
Marjan almost got the better of the Minerva defense following a long punt but Kareem Nurain marshaled him well before Arnab came out and gathered it with ease.
In the 41st minute, Watson's corner could have led to Bengaluru's second but Sandesh Jhingan's unmarked header at the far post was inches wide.
Immediately following the restart, Udanta Singh strode forward with ease but saw him shot palmed out for a corner by an alert Arnab Das Sharma.
About four minutes from the hour mark, it was a Watson corner again that saw the Minerva defense exposed. Marjan rose the highest but somehow saw his header fly wide.
It was Watson himself who missed a glorious chance to double their advantage after Lenny had played him on. The Australian's shot went over the bar just from outside the box much to the relief of Arnab.
The hosts rallied on in the last ten minutes desperately to get an equaliser but failed miserably. Souvik Das launched a shot that fell straight into Arindam and the Warriors also missed to convert from easy chances from a corner and a free-kick.
The title holders reverted to a three-man defense as Roca introduced Salam Ranjan Singh to see the game off. With the win, Bengaluru moved to the fourth spot on the table with sixteen points as Minerva stayed on seventh with 11 points.