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BFC seal semifinal spot

Arjun Ganesh, DH News Service, Bengaluru, Feb 10 2018, 0:34 IST

Garcia, Delgado strike in hosts' 2-0 win over Goa

The unseasonal rain may have hit the turnstile numbers but it did little to dampen the spirits of the fans. The now-routine 'Viking thunder clap' resonated across the Sree Kanteerava Stadium as Bengaluru FC sealed their Indian Super League semifinal berth with a solid 2-0 victory over FC Goa.

The celebration, made famous by the Iceland national football team at the 2016 Euros has become a common sight whenever BFC are on the right side of a result. Friday was no different with a majority of the 14,000-odd crowd doing the routine in unison after Edu Garcia (35th minute) and Dimas Delgado (82nd) assured the hosts' progress.

It was definitely a sweeter result for Albert Roca's men as not only did they consolidate their number one spot on the table with 33 points from 15 games, but they also made amends for the 3-4 loss in an ill-tempered away fixture against the same opponents.

For Goa, though, the result meant they remained sixth having collected 20 points from 13 outings.

It was definitely going to be a key clash for Goa in their pursuit of a top-four spot and they showed intent right from the whistle.

Mandar Rao Dessai was an absolute live-wire on the left flank and linked up well with Narayan Das in the sixth minute to give Bengaluru their first scare. The former BFC midfielder latched onto Narayan's defence-splitting pass and lofted a ball into the box.

Bengaluru custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu parried but the prolific Ferran Corominas was in waiting and headed it back towards goal, only for Gurpreet to avert the danger with his right foot.

Goa came knocking four minutes later as Gurpreet found himself in the thick of things yet again. Manvir Singh loaded up and fired from 20 yards out and with the ball headed into the top right corner, an airbourne Gurpreet ensured the deadlock wasn't broken.

Bengaluru took their time but eventually got their footing and in the 24th minute, Nishu Kumar skipped past a couple of defenders, did well to keep the ball in play, and squared it to Thongkhosiem Haokip, who played up front in the absence of Miku. But the forward fired straight at Goa's goalkeeper Naveen Kumar, with the debutant doing well to reduce the angle.

With ten minutes to half-time, the Kanteerava was a cauldron of emotion and excitement as Edu Garcia, the usual dead-ball option, looped in a header after a well-worked corner routine. Delgado and Antonio Dovale stood over the corner and after a smart dummy from the former, Edu timed his jump to perfection and connected with Dovale's cross.

In the second period, The Blues exuded confidence and remained resolute in defence, limiting any clearcut chances to Goa.

As it was turning into a scrappy midfield affair with eight minutes plus added time to go, Delgado sneaked in behind the Goa defence and calmly rounded Naveen to shatter any hopes of a comeback.

The Blues' substitute Boithang Haokip twisted and turned past defenders and his deflected pass was headed into space by Dovale and as the Gaurs' defenders awaited an offside call, Delgado made sure of the result.

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