Punjab FC scored three past Bengaluru FC to secure a comfortable win in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Saturday. Punjab now stand ninth in the table with 11 points after 13 games. Meanwhile, former champions Bengaluru FC dropped to 10th with 11 points.
Wilmar Jordan Gil, Luka Majcen and Madih Talal were on target for the home side while Sunil Chhetri scored the consolation goal for Bengaluru FC.
It was Punjab's only second victory of the season. Punjab FC started brightly in the opening exchanges, making the Bengaluru defence work hard.
Luka Majcen and Wilmar Jordan combined well along with Madih Talal to create chances but they could not capitalise on those, with Ashis Pradhan missing the best of them.
Punjab FC got punished against the run of play as Sunil Chhetri's glancing header from a Roshan Singh cross found the net, giving the away side the lead.
Punjab FC struck back within eight minutes after a patient spell of play.
Tekcham Abhishek Singh's inviting ball in the box was headed into the goal, giving goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu no chance to react.
Punjab could have increased the lead as they created a couple of chances but were denied by Gurpreet as both teams went into the break with the scores tied at one each.
Both teams looked for openings in the second half but clear-cut chances were at a premium and the defenders from both sides stood their ground to thwart the attacks.
Punjab defender Dmitrios Chatziisaias put in a diving challenge to deny Ryan Williams a clear shot on goal. Ravi Kumar also made a fine save from a Javi Hernandez volley to deny the Spaniard another goal this season.
The home side took the lead in the 72nd minute through a counter-attack that started from Luka and ended with Luka. Luka set free Madih Talal from the centre of the pitch and the Frenchman played a perfect one-touch pass on the path of Luka who kept his composure and coolly finished past Gurpreet.
Bengaluru could have equalised soon but Chhetri missed a free header. Punjab increased their lead in the 77th minute through Madih Talal.
Punjab FC will face Kerala Blasters FC on February 12 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.
With PTI inputs