Bengaluru FC forward N Sivasakthi scores maiden ISL goal

As his ward rippled the right side of the net after returning to the starting eleven, mentor Raman Vijayan, who had taken Sivasakthi under his wings around 2014, breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Bengaluru FC forward N Sivasakthi scores maiden ISL goal

CHENNAI: A season-and-a-half passed by. He made 16 appearances in top-flight football and spent 391 minutes on the pitch. But, Bengaluru FC’s highly-rated forward N Sivasakthi was yet to make it to the scorecard in the Indian Super League.

The 21-year-old Sivasakthi, who was banging in goals with ease in every other competition that he featured in, grew increasingly “frustrated” as the search for ‘that’ goal continued. Having outscored senior statesmen Sunil Chhetri and Roy Krishna – he netted five times in six matches – in Bengaluru’s victorious Durand Cup 2022 campaign, the young striker was expected to carry the good form into ISL 2022-23.

Sivasakthi was made a regular in the starting line-up by BFC head coach Simon Grayson at the beginning of the League season, but did not make the opportunities count. He was then consigned to the bench in some matches and thrown into the mix in second halves. The Karaikudi-born came close a few times, but a first ISL goal still eluded him. However, he did not stop trying – he gave it a go again, again and again. And, Sivasakthi finally ended the wait against NorthEast United FC in Guwahati on Friday when he gave Bengaluru the lead in the 50th minute with an outside-of-the-boot strike that dipped perfectly. As his ward rippled the right side of the net after returning to the starting eleven, mentor Raman Vijayan, who had taken Sivasakthi under his wings around 2014, breathed a huge sigh of relief.

“We have been waiting for this goal for a long time. It was a memorable goal. [In the match against NorthEast], he missed a chance in the first half. I was wondering if he would get substituted, but the coach let him stay on the pitch for the second half. He is in a position where he will have to score to retain his place in the eleven,” said Vijayan.

Talking about Sivasakthi’s goal that he struck from just inside the box, Vijayan said: “If you remember, he assisted Roy Krishna against Chennaiyin FC in Chennai with an outside-of-the-boot ball. If you watch the goal closely, you will find out that he scored with the outside of his boot and not with the toe. I have seen him score many such goals from close quarters, so it did not look different for me. It is not easy to score such a goal; not many players can do it.” He added: “This is the first of many goals from him.”

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