Bengaluru retain top spot as Abahani crashes out

Srihari GS  |  Bengaluru FC  |  2 Years Ago

 I-League Champions Bengaluru pulled their strings together to beat the Bangladesh federation cup winners, Abahani 2-0. Bengaluru FC strengthened their position on top of Group-E with this win.


 Albert Roca's side, having won both their group fixtures came into the match at the back of two straight I-league victories. Abahani, on the other hand, are winless in the AFC cup having lost both their opening matches against Mohan Bagan and Maziya. With the Indian side being favorites to win this encounter, it would take the Bangladeshi outfit some workout if they intend to leap up.


Bengaluru, despite missing the services of Cameron Watson and Sandesh Jhingan due to suspension performed brilliantly on both the ends of the pitch. Bengaluru made four changes to the starting lineup having Arindam Bhattacharya, Cameron Watson, Alwyn George and Marjan Jugovic out, and Lalthuammawia Ralte, Lenny Rodrigues, Seminlen ‘Len’ Doungel and Daniel Lalhlimpuia making it to the starting lineup. Abahani however fielded the same team that played Bagan in their previous AFC cup fixture.


Albert Roca played his most prominent 4-3-3 formation while Abahani yielded a wider 5-3-2. Harmanjoth Khabra replaced the suspended Watson, while Eugeneson was the heart of the midfield. The absence of Jhinghan led to Ranjan Singh taking the right back position while Nishu shone as the Left back.  Abahani missed their defensive stalwart Sammad Yusuf due to visa problems thus giving the responsibility to Nasiruddin chowdry to keep the Bengaluru attack at bay. Udanta who was doubtful to play teamed up with Sunil Chettri to lead the Bengaluru attack.


Bengaluru began penetration right from the start. A good chance left hanging as Sunil failed to get hold of a perfect cross just outside the Box. Abahani may have been under the greater pressure of the opening quarter of an hour but a misplaced pass from Lenny bisected the Bengaluru Center Backs giving Abahani a wonderful chance to take the lead into the match. But Ralte's goalkeeping prowess keeps the match at 0-0. Five minutes from half time Bengaluru take the lead through Nishu Kumar. Sleek passing in the center and a beautiful bit of play allowed the left back to make a run inside the box and too much of the home crowds expectations led Nishu wonderfully finished off the move. As the game built up it looked Bengaluru to be netting at least five but as the halftime wore on Abahani denied many chances to remain in the game.



Bengaluru took off from where they left. Early chances for Juanan and Chettri meant that Bengaluru looked to take maximum points from this match. A little over the hour mark Bengaluru make their first substitution, bringing on Jugovic for Doungel. Immediate drama as Chettri's shot is blocked by the Abahani keeper. The resulting corner ended with a chance for Johnson who failed to connect Juanan's square ball from point-blank range. Bengaluru failed to score from what could be the best chance of the night. In the dying moments of the game Bengaluru scored another for the evening through Marjan Jugovic who struck his first AFC Cup goal for the Blues. Nishu kumar could have added another but a lackluster finish denies a second goal for him. Referee blows the full time whistle bringing an end to this match.        


A comfortable 2-0 win meant that Bengaluru stayed at the top of the group while Abahani crashed out of the tournament. This win meant that the Blues stays atop irrespective of the result on Wednesday.




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