Hat-trick Hero, Play-Off Final and Player of the Week!

After the first leg’s of both play-off semi-finals earlier in the week, I was struggling to pick anyone who was even close to winning the player of the week award.

Bengaluru and Pune playing out a bore 0-0 draw and then Goa and Chennaiyin trying even harder to bore us with a 1-1. This meant that both games were to play for going into the second legs.

The first team trying to book their place in the final after the 0-0 draw were table toppers Bengaluru. The game finished 3-1 to the Blues and that meant they could claim the first leg away from home finishing 0-0, was a tactical masterclass, maybe not but you can not argue, it worked perfectly.

Our Indian Super League Player of the Week award goes to the Indian legend that is Sunil Chhetri.

Bengaluru v Pune | 3-1 | G:3

This was an interesting affair before kick-off, with the new rule of away goals, the game was anyone’s for the taking. It could have been a tense start but no one told the two teams that as both could have been in front in the first ten minutes.

In step Sunil Chhetri, Udanta skipped through the defence out wide and played a delightful ball to the striker. The ball looked slightly above Chhetri and he struggled to get power on to his effort but his header looped over the keeper to give Bengaluru a well deserved early lead.

That’s how it lasted all the way to the break, Bengaluru were happy but Pune would have been pushed on knowing that still, one goal would take them through.

Sunil’s second was all down to nerves of steel, after winning a penalty after being brought down, Chhetri dusted himself down and stepped up to take it himself. Knowing a goal would give his side a big advantage in this game he coolly dispatched his penalty to make it 2-0.

Jonatan Lucca gave Pune a fighting chance by making it 2-1 with ten minutes to play with an exquisite free-kick into the top corner but that was to amount to nothing in the end after more Chhetri magic.

It just had to be Chhettri who was going to put this game to bed for the home side. After a lovely defence-splitting pass by Dimas Delgado, the Indian striker brought it down with ease and applied an even better touch to secure his hat-trick and a chance to be crowned the Super League Champions.

Play-Off games always bring an air of expectation and a bit of the unknown, but this was not the case for Bengaluru, unbeaten since January, this would be the perfect end to win the league and then maybe go on to something even more special, the treble.