Spirited BFC down Bagan

Spirited BFC down Bagan

Bengaluru FC's Venezualan striker Miku celebrates after scoring against Mohun Bagan on Tuesday. The Blues defeated Bagan 4-2 and will meet East Bengal in the final on Friday. BFC Media.
The inspiring win was underlined by a Miku hat-trick (63’, 65’ and 89’) and another sublime Sunil Chhetri finish (90+1’).

It was billed a classic and Bengaluru FC swivelled past the odds more than just once to make sure it stayed just that – a classic. Down a goal and then a man with an entire half left to play for in unforgiving weather conditions, Albert Roca’s boys decided to thrash the script and hurriedly pen a brand new one when they came back from the dead to beat old rivals Mohun Bagan 4-2 here and book a place in the final of the Super Cup against East Bengal on Friday.

The inspiring win was underlined by a Miku hat-trick (63’, 65’ and 89’) and another sublime Sunil Chhetri finish (90+1’).

The Kalinga Stadium was touching 40 degrees on a Tuesday afternoon but Bengaluru’s woes soon doubled without the ball being kicked after Juanan Gonzalez opted out of the warm-ups complaining of uneasiness he had been carrying from a rib injury. Harmanjot Khabra replaced the Spaniard as Subhasish Bose moved from left-back to partner Johnson in the middle, with Nishu moving to the left.

The rejigged defence looked like seeing the half through without conceding when Bagan broke the deadlock in 42nd minute through Dipanda Dicka. Khabra was bundled over in the build-up and Akram Moghrabi did well to slide the ball to the Cameroonian striker who tapped home with ease.

Roca switched to a three-man back line for the second half with the introduction of Toni Dovale in place of Khabra. Erik Paartalu moved back to join Subhasish and Johnson at the back.

However, five minutes after the restart, the Blues’ quest for a fightback suffered a massive blow as Nishu was given his marching orders. Pushing up in search of a leveller, a clearance from a Bengaluru corner caught Nishu off-balance, allowing Nikhil to run away with possession. Nishu, in his attempt to recover, fouled the winger and was sent in for an early shower.

Miku turned the tie in Bengaluru’s favour, almost singlehandedly as he picked up a cut back from Udanta Singh. Taking a touch past his marker, the Venezuelan hammered home a low grounder past two defenders and Shilton Paul in the Bagan goal to level things.

It wasn’t long before the Blues seized the advantage, as the Bengaluru No 7 earned a freekick just outside the rival area. Catching the Bagan defenders off guard, Toni played Miku through with a quick restart, and the latter made no mistake to place it past Shilton.

Miku then completed his hat-trick in the 88th minute from the spot after Udanta was brought down in the box by substitute Rana Gharami.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Blues continued to push forward and Chhetri scored what was arguably the goal of the tournament so far. Latching on to a long diagonal from BFC ‘keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu down on the left flank, the skipper took a touch past his marker and curled it in and beyond the reach of Shilton to make it 4-1.

Dipanda would then catch the Bengaluru defence off guard as he reduced the deficit but it would make little difference.

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