AFC Cup: Bengaluru FC 2-1 Maziya - Rating the performances of the home team's players
Bengaluru FC clinched a victory on their AFC Cup debut as they defeated Maziya Sports & Recreation club 2-1. The goals for the hosts came from Sunil Chhetri, who opened the scoring in the 67th minute, and Shankar Sampingiraj, who scored the winner in the third minute of injury time. Maziya had earlier equalised through Umair’s penalty, which came in the 85th minute.
This result sees them make a great beginning in their quest to qualify from a group that also consists of Indonesian giants Persipura Jayapura, who reached the semi-finals of the AFC Cup last season and Warriors from Singapore, apart from Maziya.
Here is a closer look at the performance of the Bengaluru FC players:
Lalthuammawia Ralte (GK) – 6/10
The Bengaluru FC goalkeeper had a good outing in general, but spoiled it with his role in Maziya's equaliser. He was composed when he had to come off his line, his handling was perfect, and he made the right decisions when called upon. However, he would have been disappointed with himself after he let a weak penalty from Umair go through him for the leveller.
Rino Anto (RB) – 7/10
Anto was very solid throughout the game, both going forward and defensively. He supported Beikhokhei ably, and his beautiful, pinpoint cross was headed in by Chhetri for the opening goal. He controlled the right-flank, and created a lot of trouble for the Maldivian side.
John Johnson (CB) – 6/10
The Englishman was solid for most parts of the game, and was involved in some great aerial battles with Maziya's forward Pablo Rodriguez. Johnson though, was a guilty of being a little too enthusiastic going into aerial challenges, and was pulled up a couple of times for leaning in with the elbow.
His passing wasn't as neat as we have come to expect from him, and it was his hand-ball that led to the Maziya penalty.
Curtis Osano (CB) – 7/10
Osano was calmness personified in the centre of defense for the AFC Cup debutants. His assurance and composure on the ball helped the team build play from the back, while his astute reading of the game, and ability to anticipate danger in advance helped his team in thwarting any sort of danger effectively.
Lalchhuanmawia (LB) – 7/10
The left-back was great throughout the match, as he provided great support going forward and defended stoutly. His delivery from set-pieces was an added bonus, while his pace added an extra dimension to his play.
Joshua Walker (CM) – N/A
Walker had to go off the field due to a hamstring complaint, and hardly had any time to make any impact.
Shankar Sampingiraj (CM) – 8/10
The local lad Shankar did a lot of things very well during the match against Maziya. Initially, he was deployed ahead of Walker, where he was helping the front three press the Maldivian side's defense into mistakes.
Following Walker's injury, Sampingiraj was pushed back into a deeper role, and he did a great job of transitioning between attack and defense. He also helped keep possession very well, and was a threat all night from set-pieces, eventually scoring the winner in injury time.
Eugeneson Lyngdoh (CM)- 6.5/10
Lyngdoh has been very important for the reigning I-League champions this season, having chipped in with crucial goals and provided cutting edge in midfield. However, this was not his best game for the club, as he couldn't impose himself as he would have liked to.
Though he got into great positions to score, he wasn't able to convert them, and looked a little tired, having played a lot of games for Bengaluru FC in their very crowded fixture list.
Sunil Chhetri (LF) – 8/10
The captain of Bengaluru FC showed just why he is considered to be the best Indian player in a long time. His touches throughout the match were just brilliant, he used his pace and guile to run rings around the Maziya right-back, and was in the right spot to convert Anto's cross for the opener.
He was a threat all night to the away side's defense, and was critical to the home team's attacking endeavours. He was voted the Most Valuable Player of the match for his performance.
Beingaichho Beikhokhei (RF) – 7/10
Beikhokhei, or Beikho, as he is fondly known, was a thorn in the Maziya defense's side all night long, as his mazy runs and accurate crossing helped create a lot of opportunities for Bengaluru FC.
His influence waned a little in the second half, when most of the home team's attacks came down the left flank, but his purposeful running and tireless running kept the team from Maldives on their toes.
Robin Singh (ST) – 7/10
Singh put in a great shift for Bengaluru FC, as he worked tirelessly to ensure that his team could get the breakthrough. His intelligent runs behind the defense, strength to hold-up play well, and pace while running at the defenders all were great to watch.
He deserved a goal for his performance tonight, and will be looking to display his striker's instincts a little more next time around to convert the chances that come his way.
Siam Hanghal (15’) (CM) – 7.5/10
Hanghal came on for Walker early in the first half. He seemed a little out of place initially, but once he hit that cracking shot that was pushed onto the bar by Maziya’s goalkeeper, he settled in beautifully.
His late runs into the box to provide support, and smart balls in behind the defense were very good, and one such pass almost saw the home team take the lead, but Chhetri put his shot wide. He controlled the pace of the game very well, and did a great job for the team.
Sean Rooney (73’) (ST) – 6/10
The Australian replaced Robin Singh in the 73rd minute, and could soon have scored a goal, but sent his effort high and wide. He was a great help defensively, as he defended set-pieces stoutly.