Bengaluru begin on a bright note

Bengaluru begin on a bright note

Bengaluru begin on a bright note

They might be struggling to produce results in the I-League but that didn’t seem to affect Bengaluru FC much as they got their AFC Cup campaign off to a winning start, beating Mohun Bagan 2-1 at the Sree Kanteerava stadium on Tuesday.

Egged on by a small yet boisterous crowd, last year’s finalist were led by goals from Sandesh Jhingan (51st minute) and Sunil Chhetri (57th) as they rallied in fine manner after a Yusa Katsumi penalty had give Bagan the lead in the 36th minute.

After being outplayed in the opening half, Bengaluru head coach Albert Roca threw in Euegenson Lyngdoh at half time in place of Lenny Rodrigues. And with Bagan missing Katsumi for the final half hour to an injury, Bengaluru made the most of the opportunity to net in two goals and take the win.

Set-pieces have being Bengaluru’s strength since Roca’s arrival last year and it was no surprise when Cameron Watson picked Jhingan with a corner and the defender did no mistake to direct the ball into the goal to draw his side level.

Minutes later, Bagan’s goalkeeper Shilton Paul was cautioned for handling the ball outside his area, gifting Bengaluru a free-kick just outside his box. And this time it was their skipper Chhetri who made no mistake to give his side the lead.

So far in the season, if there’s one thing that Bengaluru can brag about then that’s the amount of possession they’ve enjoyed every game. But on Tuesday even that seemed to go against them as Bagan dictated play with Katsumi pulling the strings in the middle of the park with ease. Replacing Darryl Duffy up front, Jeje Lalpekhlua combined well with Balwant Singh ant they proved to be a menace for the Bengaluru defence.

Playing a high line, Bagan cramped Bengaluru for room in their half and goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya soon played into their hands as his clearance found Katsumi in space. Though the Japanese raced ahead and took a shot at the goal, an alert Salam Ranjan Singh threw his body in the line to avoid any further trouble.

Arindam, however, seemed determined to celebrate his call-up to the national team in a not so familiar fashion as another appalling error by the 'keeper allowed Sony Norde with space in his penalty area. The Haitian set up Balwant, but the latter took too much time on the ball allowing the defenders to see off the danger without much fuss. The pressure eventually paid off for the as a careless Jhingan tripped Norde inside the penalty area close to the half time break. Though Arindam guessed the right way, Katsumi’s take had enough to make it 1-0 for the visitors. BFC, however, responded strongly to eke out a gritty win.
DH News Service