Bengaluru FC coasts to AFC knockout stage

Maricruz Casares
May 17, 2018

Dhaka Abahani Limited conceded a 0-4 defeat against JSW Bengaluru Football Club of India in their Group E home match of the AFC Cup Football at Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Wednesday.

Daniel Segovia (13th min), Nishu Kumar (16th, 58th) and Sunil Chetri (60th) struck for BFC, who topped Group E with a resounding win and advanced in the competition.

BFC needed a win to qualify and were also relying on Aizawl FC to beat Maldives' New Radiant.

The water-logged pitch from overnight showers looked like giving Bengaluru FC trouble, but two quick goals in a span of three minutes dispelled any such worries for coach Albert Roca.

It took a bit of everything - a good show in Dhaka, drama in Guwahati and a big push from a resolute Aizawl FC - as Bengaluru FC finished as champions of the South Zone and booked a place in the knock-out stages of the AFC Cup for a fourth straight season.

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The Blues were always in control of the game and led 2-0 at half time courtesy goals from Segovia and Kumar. BFC went on to dominate the half and ended the half with 55 percent of possession. Abahani only entered the striking area five times and had just one shot on target.

The outcome was on expected lines but with qualification on the line, Bengaluru had to deal with pressure. Even as Sunil Chhetri inspired BFC notched up a comfortable win, Aizawl put paid to New Radiant's hopes and claimed its first win of its campaign.

All the goals came in the second half. "From the very first minute, I saw my team concentrated". Ionescu got a through pass and dribbled past an onrushing goalkeeper Imran.

New Radiant's Ibrahim Atheeq scored the team's first goal three minutes later and had other chances to score but to no avail.

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