Champs Bengaluru FC sign off debut season in style

Champs Bengaluru FC sign off debut season in style

A last gasp header from right-winger Beikhokhei Beingaichho gave Bengaluru FC a 2-1 victory over hosts Sporting Clube de Goa as they signed off their I-League campaign in style at the Nehru Stadium here on Monday.

A week after winning the league at the same venue against Dempo, ‘The Blues’ struck decisively in the third minute of stoppage time much to the delight of the travelling BFC fans who made their presence felt right throughout the match.

As the final whistle was blown, the players and support staff uncorked champagne as celebratory spirit gripped the new champions.

They also had a warning for the best of Asia in the shape of a banner: “Champions of India… Asia here we come.”

It was Sporting who took the lead through a ferocious strike from Boima Karpeh from about 30-yards out four minutes before half-time.

A Robin Singh goal restored parity in the 59th minute.

Sporting, who were looking to play the role of party poopers, welcomed the BFC players with a guard of honour but their hospitality ended there as they looked the sharper of the two teams in the early stages of the encounter.

BFC, who had to ring in the changes because of suspensions, looked out of touch and their overall play lacked cohesiveness and drive.

Their coach, Ashley Westwood, who was serving a touchline ban, was seen berating the players from the stands but it did not elicit any tangible response as Sporting grew into the encounter before they made it count.

The Flaming Orange, who had set up to hurt BFC with the pace of their frontmen, took the lead through Karpeh, whose long-ranger left ’keeper Sorem Porei clutching at thin air.

BFC were still struggling for inspiration and some of their passes looked like straight out of a casual pre-season training session before skipper Sunil Chhetri and John Johnson, the club’s standout players this season, combined with devastating effect for Robin to score.

Chhetri, who was wandering in to the centre from his starting position on the left, rode a few tackles before passing it to an advancing Johnson, who had the presence of mind to knock it forward to Robin.

Robin, pilloried at the start of the season and often criticised for his impetuous streak, ran free of the last man and slotted the ball past keeper Ravi Kumar into the far corner.

Both the coaches preferred to use all the substitutions in what was a heat-sapping environment and one of the new men, Beikhokhei, arrived late to guide home Keegan Perreira’s cross from the left-channel to send the Blues into dreamland for a second time in one week.

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