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ISL 2023-24: Bengaluru FC denies Punjab FC its first win of the season in 3-3 draw

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For the second day running, the Indian Super League (ISL) witnessed a high-scoring game as Bengaluru FC and Punjab FC played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Thursday.

Punjab shaded the first half and BFC the second, and the stalemate meant that Simon Grayson’s men remained eighth in the table (seven points) and the visitors rose up by one spot to 11th (four).

A frenetic first period saw as many as five goals. Nikhil Prabhu opened for Punjab in the 19th minute, tapping in a cross from the right. But BFC hit back immediately with a beautifully worked move on the right flank involving Javi Hernandez and Sunil Chhetri. It finished with 20-year-old Harsh Patre scoring his maiden ISL goal.

ALSO READ: Punjab at 11th after 3-3 draw, Kerala Blasters on top after Diamantakos’ screamer

Punjab, though, was unfazed and scored twice in a four-minute window. Dimitrios Chatziisaias sent a looping header in with his back to the goal and Luka Majcen unleashed a fierce shot from distance after a smart backheel layoff by Juan Mera.

Moments before the break, BFC pulled one back when a teasing cross from Naorem Roshan from the left flank caused a mix-up between Chatziisaias and goalie Ravi Kumar and Curtis Main bundled the stray ball in.

The strike kept BFC within touching distance, and when N. Sivasakthi, Suresh Wangjam and Slavko Damjanovic were introduced for the second period, the home side changed for the better. Hernandez’s equaliser in the 67th minute was no surprise as he converted a Chhetri pass from an acute angle on the left.

BFC drove forward, and Chhetri and Main came close to winning it all. But some fine goalkeeping by Ravi Kumar ensured Punjab a point.

The result: Bengaluru FC 3 (Patre 21, Main 45+1, Hernandez 67) drew with Punjab FC 3 (Prabhu 19, Chatziisaias 26, Majcen 30)

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