BFC edge past Aizawl

BFC edge past Aizawl

Football I-League : Osano strike sets up Bengaluru side's second win

BFC edge past Aizawl

 Curtis Osano scored a first-half winner as a gritty Bengaluru FC edged past promoted Aizawl FC 1-0 for their second straight win in the I-League here at a packed Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Saturday.

Coach Ashley Westwood made just one change to the starting XI that beat Salgaocar last week, bringing in Udanta Singh for Malsawmzuala. And the nippy winger did enough to show what he’s capable of bringing to the table.

Darting off runs that gave the Aizawl defence a tough time, Udanta earned a 26th minute free-kick which led to BFC’s opener.

With Eugeneson Lyngdoh standing over the ball, a quick change in decision saw Keegan Pereira swing in the take instead. Former Blues’ goalkeeper Soram Poirei fumbled with the routine take and an alert Osano capitalised on the error, netting home the winner.

In an opening exchange where neither of the sides managed to stitch anything meaningful and the game was anything but pleasing to the eye, BFC’s Lalthuammawia Ralte -- a local boy -- pulled off the save of the game when he flung himself and got his fingertips to a dangerous shot from David Lalrinmuana that was heading for goal.

The Blues needed a little bit of luck when, in the 33rd minute, an Aizawl attack ended up bouncing off the post and Bengaluru then tried to wrest control of the game.

Westwood tweaked the formation a bit and introduced another local boy in Malsawmzuala who came on for Udanta at the start of the second half in a bid to seize more control and enjoy the kind of possession that the Blues are otherwise used to. 

Aizawl, playing their first home game in their I-League journey, were always going to come out hard, wanting to make the occasion memorable. But it was the Bengaluru squad’s experience that put a spanner in the hosts’ works with John Johnson and Osano making all the right interceptions and coming out winners in every aerial duel.
With 10 minutes left to play for, CK Vineeth had the best chance to close the game after being set up by Kim’s header only to inexplicably shoot wide from five yards out. Aizawl were keen to make the lifeline count and battled hard for a point but a gritty and composed show from Westwood’s boys denied the home side the fairytale ending they were chasing from the start.

With two wins under their belt, BFC next play at home at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium when they take on Shillong Lajong on January 24.

Bagan score

Meanwhile, reigning champions Mohun Bagan decimated Salgaocar with a crushing 4-2 victory to win their second round I-League encounter, here on Saturday.

Skipper Katsumi Yusa’s 9th minute header from long throw-in by Dhanachandra Singh opened the floodgates before Cornell Glen (28th minute), Luciano Sabrosa (33rd) and Balwant Singh (48th) completed the rout as the green and maroon brigade braced themselves for the derby against arch-rivals East Bengal in the coming round.

However, Bagan’s defensive worries remained as the struggling Goans pulled back through Darryl Duffy (69th) and Gurjinder Kumar (86th) but the that was too little too late. The defending champions climbed to the top of the table pushing Bengaluru FC to second spot on goal difference as both have six points from two matches while Salgaocar remained without any point.

Debjit Majumder, Azharuddin Mallick and India international Pronay Halder were inducted in the starting XI while Brazilian Luciano Sabrosa in charge of deep defence with star striker Jeje brought in as a substitute.