Last edition’s runner-up Bengaluru FC got off to a positive start as they scored a goal in each half to down Salgaocar 2-1 in their inaugural match of the Hero I-League football.
Bengaluru FC, who held upper hand throughout the match, created numerous chances and took the lead in the 5th minute through C K Vineeth.
Darryl Duffy restored parity in the 41st minute.
They could have won by a bigger margin, had it not been for rival keeper Karanjit Singh, who brought off good saves.
Sunil Chhetri scored the match winner in the 60th minute off a free kick after Gurjinder Kumar handed the ball just outside the box.
Bengaluru FC started briskly and kept the early pressure on their opponents with C K Vineeth and Kim Song Yong combining well upfront.
Kim Song Yong, who worked his way on the right, sent a goal mouth cross where defender Nicolau and Augustin failed to intercept, and Vineeth tapped the ball home.
Karanjit Singh then brought off fine saves to deny Kim Song Yong and Eugeneson Lyndoh.
The home team scored when Jackichand Singh won a penalty after being felled by Eugenson Lyndoh from behind. Duffy, who took the penalty, beat keeper Raltte on the wrong side.
Salgaocar coach Malcolm Thomson, in order to add thrust upfront, brought in Manandeep Singh in place of Alec Sawant, but the latter looked little rusty.
Salgaocar conceded a foul just on top of the box after Gujinder Singh handled the ball and Chhetri, who stepped up to take the free kick, shot the ball to the far corner of the net, which turned out to be the winner.
Chhetri could have scored his second goal few minutes latter, but his header was kept out by Keenan Almedia on the goal line.