Bengaluru: Erik Paartalu grabbed a goal and an assist as Bengaluru FC reduced the gap at the top of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) table with a convincing 2-0 win against Jamshedpur FC here on Thursday.
The hosts scored from a set-piece when Erik Paartalu (8') scored from Dimas Delgado's corner. Sunil Chhetri (63') doubled the lead after the break to put the result beyond doubt.
The win takes Bengaluru to the second spot on the table with 22 points from 12 matches. Jamshedpur remain sixth with 13 points.
New signing David Grande started up top as Jamshedpur also had Gourav Mukhi returning to the ISL after 13 months. Bengaluru started the game on the front foot and looked the more likely team to break the deadlock. They did from a Dimas Delgado corner-kick eight minutes into the game.
The Spaniard's dangerous delivery was met at the near post by Paartalu who beat Narender Gahlot in the air and sent a powerful header into the net that left Subrata Paul with no chance.
Ashique Kuruniyan was afforded space to run down the flanks and the young winger made the most of the opportunity. Minutes later going ahead, Ashique dribbled his way out of a crowded area, made room for a shot and struck a ferocious volley that Paul somehow kept out.
Jamshedpur's new signing David Grande had a couple of good moments in the first half, but the team went into the break without registering a single shot on target. Grande fed Faruk Choudhary into the box before the break, but Ashique tracked back well to block the Indian forward's shot from inside the box.
Jamshedpur struggled to contain Ashique down the flanks and he came close again soon after the restart. He won the ball in his own half, dribbled all the way to the final third, played a one-two with Manuel Onwu and lashed the return wide of the goal from inside the box.
The visitors lacked a goalscoring threat inside the box, but Aitor Monroy nearly made amends at the hour-mark. Noe Acosta dribbled away from a crowd of Bengaluru players and laid the ball off for Monroy whose brilliant strike flew just wide of Gurpreet's post.
Bengaluru's intensity to keep going forward paid off as they doubled their lead just after the hour mark. Erik Paartalu played a magnificent long ball to release Chhetri into the box.
Narender failed to react to the pass and the forward headed the ball forward to take the onrushing keeper out of the equation and slotted home with ease.
A hopeful long ball gave Grande the chance to run through on goal, but a brilliant one-handed reflex save by Gurpreet denied Jamshedpur a way back into the game.