Sunil's hat-trick helps Bengaluru book a semi-final date with Mariners

164Sunil Chhetri’s hat-trick on Friday, 13 April 2018, against I-League outfit Neroca FC ensured that the Hero ISL 2017-18 runner’s up comfortably booked their semi-final spot of the inaugural Hero Super Cup 2018.

 The tournament that is being played at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar saw Bengaluru FC comfortably defeating Neroca FC 3-1 today. Sunil Chhetri (13’; 55’; 90’+4’) who was adjudged the Hero of the Match scored a hat trick for Bengaluru FC while Pritam Singh (45’+3’) scored the solitary goal for Neroca FC. Bengaluru FC now face Mohun Bagan in their semi-final clash on the 17th April 2018.

 The game began with the Hero Indian Super League 2017-18 Runners Up, Bengaluru FC leading the proceedings. Bengaluru FC kept pressing hard but the Hero I-League 2017-18 Runners Up, Neroca FC showcased their class through solid defence and some impressive saves by their captain and goalkeeper Lalit Thapa.

Bengaluru were soon rewarded for their consistent attacks in the 13th minute through a cross from the left flank from Udanta that was duly punched out by Lalit Thapa but only to be pushed back into the net from a spectacular header from Sunil Chhetri.

Neroca FC thereafter made a few moves in the opponent's box but the lack of quality crosses and some good saves by Bengaluru’s Gurpreet Singh eluded the Manipur outfit from an equalizer. Neroca FC struck back with an equalizer in the stoppage time, when a silly mistake from Gurpreet Singh of not collecting the ball properly, saw Neroca’s Pritam Singh (45’ + 3’) make no mistakes in converting the moment to their favour.

Fresh from losing their lead in the first half, Bengaluru FC pressed hard right from the start of the second half. They struck soon through their captain Sunil Chhetri in the 55th minute. Neroca FC thereafter made some really close attempts but couldn’t convert any to equalize.

Neroca FC who sealed their quarterfinal spot by defeating Kerala Blasters after coming from behind situation couldn’t really repeat the story today. Their hopes for an equalizer or a win were dashed in the dying moments of the second half when Sunil Chhetri (90’+4’) struck his third goal of the game in the stoppage time.

The game finished with Bengaluru FC defeating Neroca FC 3-1 in the fourth and final quarterfinal of the Hero Super Cup 2018.