AFC Cup highlights: Bengaluru FC come back to defeat Mohun Bagan 2-1
What’s the story?
I-League champions Bengaluru FC came up against domestic rivals Mohun Bagan at the Kanteerava stadium in Bangalore for a group stage match of the 2017 AFC Cup, only two days after playing out a tense 0-0 draw in their I-League encounter on Sunday. The home team staged a comeback after going a goal down, courtesy of Katsumi Yusa, who put the Mariners in front in the 36th minute.
Here are the highlights of the exciting encounter in Bengaluru:
In case you didn’t know…
The AFC Cup is Asia’s second tier club football tournament, organised by the Asian Football Confederation. Bengaluru FC were the losing finalists in last year’s edition of the tournament, losing to Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya after defeating defending champions Johor Darul Ta'zim in the semi-finals.
In this season’s edition, Bengaluru FC have been drawn with Maldivian outfit, Maziya Sports Club, compatriots and domestic rivals, Mohun Bagan and Abahani Limited Dhaka from the capital of Bangladesh.
Heart of the matter
Mohun Bagan’s Japanese import, Katsumi Yusa who was a menace to the Bengaluru defence throughout the game, gave the Mariners the lead from the spot after Sonny Norde was brought down by defender Sandesh Jhingan. With 51 minutes gone, the towering centre-back soon made amends for his mistake by heading in the equaliser from Cameron Watson’s corner.
The game turned on its head after the equaliser as Bengaluru FC, who were earlier finding it difficult to penetrate the defence now piled men forward with momentum on their side.
Six minutes after Jhingan’s header to equalise, the home team scored again after a succession of mistakes by Shilton Paul led to a Bengaluru free-kick, which was dispatched into the bottom right corner by skipper Sunil Chhetri to seal the win.
Mohun Bagan, even though they took an early lead, were thoroughly outclassed by their compatriots but were able to return with a respectable scoreline due to some inconsistent finishing by the home side.
The Mariners are now third in their table, with no points from the sole game they have played. Bengaluru FC are second on goal difference while Maziya Sports Club, who beat Abahani Limited Dhaka by two goals are on top of the table.
Bengaluru FC were the AFC Cup finalists last year and were unfortunate to lose out on the crown after a fairytale run. The Albert Roca led side are also I-League defending champions but their performances this season haven’t lived up to their moniker of India’s best team.
Defeating Mohun Bagan will have surely been a great morale boost for the players and they will be looking forward to taking their continental and domestic challenges ahead on a war footing.