Deshorn Brown's strike in the first half gave hosts Bengaluru FC a 1-0 win over ATK in the first leg of their semi-final at the Kanteerava Stadium. BFC ended the game with 10 men after defender Nishu Kumar was shown a red card in the second period for bringing down Roy Krishna when the Fiji striker was through on goal.
In the 31st minute, Juanan Gonzalez hit a low and weak shot at Arindam Bhattacharja who spilled what looked like a simple take. Brown made the most of the gift with a stab home to give Bengaluru the lead.
The hosts were forced to make a change at the restart after Albert Serran seemed to have strained his groin in the dying seconds of the first half. They brought on Kevaughn Frater and the Jamaican linked up well with Brown and Chhetri to cause the ATK defence some problems. One such move needed Bhattacharja to tip over a looping header that Chhetri looked to direct beyond the 'keeper.
With 15 minutes left, Frater could have extended Benagluru's lead when his rasping attempt from 25 yards out looked like flying into the net, only for Bhattacharja to get a hand to the hit and keep it out for a corner. Minutes later Chhetri squandered a chance from inside the box when he skied Erik Paartalu's cutback.
Late in the game, Nishu was shown a red when -- in an attempt to halt a swift counter -- he brought down Roy Krishna on the edge of the box. Coach Carles Cuadrat then brought on Udanta Singh for Suresh Wangjam as Bengaluru saw off a series of ATK attacks. Bengaluru stayed compact at the back, as Udanta and Nili Perdomo manned the flanks, blocking every route ATK had through to goal.
The second leg of the semi-final will be in Kolkata on March 8.