DSK Shivajians grabbed the headlines with a 'smash and grab' performance that resulted in a 2-0 win over Bengaluru FC in a Group B Federation Cup encounter at the Barabati stadium. After long periods of defending, a Juan Quero penalty (71') and a stunning free-kick (76') helped them leapfrog Albert Roca's men in the group.
DSK Shivajians started the game with as many as six U22 players in a youthful starting XI. The big news was the return of Subrata Paul in goal after a controversial few weeks for him. Kim Song-Yong started in attack while Juan Quero was pulling strings from midfield.
Bengaluru FC stuck to their customary 3-4-2-1 with Udanta Singh, Sunil Chhetri and Daniel Lalhlimpuia taking up the attacking mantle. Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Cameron Watson were deployed in midfield while Nishu Kumar started at left wing-back.
The first-half turned out to be a dismal affair with very few chances created by either team. The pattern of play was set very early in the game. Bengaluru FC were dominating the ball and DSK Shivajians, with a packed midfield, were happy to defend deep and break forward on the counter.
With the sapping heat also playing a role, the first-half was sombre and dull. Only interesting moments came when Johnson headed down a corner from Watson and Jerry Mawihmingthanga cleared it away on the line with Subrata Paul failing to punch it away. There was also a save by Paul from Daniel Lalhlimpuia when the young forward met Nishu Kumar's cutback from the byline.
The pattern of play remained pretty much the same in the second half also with a ponderous Bengaluru attack unable to penetrate Shivajians' deep defensive line. Jerry was also keeping a close eye on Sunil Chhetri with the Blues' skipper rarely getting on the ball to make a difference. Even CK Vineeth's introduction failed to spur things for Albert Roca's men.
The game turned on its head in the 69th minute when DSK broke forward on a counter and Chhangte found himself one-on-one with the keeper Ralte. He took a step past Ralte and before he could get a shot away, was brought down by the 'keeper. Spanish attacking midfielder Juan Quero made absolutely no mistake with the penalty as DSK Shivajians took a surprise lead.
Roca responded by throwing on striker Cornell Glen for defender Juanan but was dealt another blow in the 76th minute. Chhangte was brought down near the edge of the area by Udanta and Juan Quero stunned the Bengaluru defence by thumping a free-kick into the top corner to make it 2-0.
A desperate Bengaluru FC poured forward in search of an equaliser but were unable to fashion one as DSK Shivajians held on comfortably to notch their first victory in the competition.
Dave Rogers' men now have three points, tied with Bengaluru and Mohun Bagan who play later. But a better head-to-head record sees them placed second in Group B ahead of Bengaluru FC.