Chhetri's favourite goals: Two title clinchers, and a record-breaking connection

Making history with Bengaluru FC

Final score: Dempo 2-4 Bengaluru (Chhetri 90')

(April 21, 2014 Nehru Stadium)

In my first season with Bengaluru FC, we were playing Dempo in our penultimate game and needed to win to assure ourselves of the title. We had raced to a 3-0 lead with goals from Sean Rooney, Robin Singh and John Menyongar and thought we had the title in our bag. But suddenly, Dempo hit back with quick goals from Beto and Romeo Fernandes, with a minute of regulation time still left. We were under pressure to find another goal to settle our nerves, and that's when [winger] Beikhokhei sent in a cross. I was able to get past Debabrata Roy who was assigned with marking me. This goal will always be memorable for getting us the title in that first season.

Another title-clinching header

Final score: Churchill Brothers (Chhetri 72') 1-1 Mohun Bagan

(May 7, 2013, Tilak Maidan, Vasco)

We were losing 1-0 against Mohun Bagan in May 2013 and I remember that we (Churchill Brothers) had to draw this match to win the league that season. I think it was Bineesh Balan who sent the cross in from the right, and I rose above my marker Manish Bhargav to head the ball in. This goal ranks up there for the sheer importance it carried for my team, and both the title-winning goals will always have a special place in my heart.

When practice made perfect against Mohammedan

Final score: Mohammedan Sporting 2-3 Bengaluru FC (Chhetri 47', 71')

(December 11, 2013, Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata)

This was a goal that will remain etched in my mind because it was exactly what we had trained for. We were able to replicate one of our training ground routines to perfection, when Beikhokhei found me at the edge of the penalty box from a corner. John Johnson was shaping up to receive my ball and he took a few defenders with him, making it possible for me to go straight for goal. When these tactics pay off, it is very satisfying.

Also read: Chhetri and Bhutia, first among equals

The improvised volley

Final score: Churchill Brothers 2-1 United Sports Club (Chhetri 27')

(April 10, 2011, Nehru Stadium, Margao)

Not many would remember this, but I scored a spectacular back-volley from outside the box for United Sports Club once against Churchill Brothers. There was a cross from the right, and our Brazilian striker Josimar flicked it on for me. It looped up a bit higher than where he probably meant it to go, so I had to react quickly. I took my chance and it came off, though I'm not sure you will find footage of this particular goal anywhere. Unfortunately, we went on to lose that particular game.

Top of the pile

Final score: Aizawl FC 1-1 Bengaluru FC (Chhetri 45')

(February 15, 2017, Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Aizawl)

I will always cherish this Aizawl goal, because it made me the highest Indian scorer in the league, though I didn't know of this stat going into the game. What will always be special is the nature of the goal, because it was one sweet connection. I am not sure why I didn't show much emotion, maybe because I am not a big one for celebrations. We have never had a spell of form like this over the last four years, winless in five games. Maybe that was weighing on my mind, or perhaps the fact that we are missing chances. But we will be back, I can promise you that.

As told to Debayan Sen