Bengaluru FC continue their impressive form with a 1-0 win over Shillong Lajong
Bengaluru FC continued their sensational form in the Federation Cup, as a Robin Singh goal in the 50th minute, handed the Blue army their second win in three games, against Shillong Lajong. Their previous games saw the Blues playout a goalless draw with Mohun Bagan, while Shillong suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Salgaocar.
The scenario was very clear. Bengaluru FC needed a win to probably guarantee progression into the next round, whereas Shillong Lajong, struggling at the bottom of group B, needed a win to ensure some kind of hope.
Bengaluru FC dominate but fail to score
Bengaluru, in their usual flamboyant self, started the first half strongly. Sunil Chhetri, as expected, troubled Shillong's defense and continued to press for a goal. Lajong had their moments on the counterattack but were easily subdued by the defensive supremacy of John Johnson and Curtis Osano, operating at the heart of the Blues’ defense.
Bengaluru FC continued with their attack on goal and pressed Shillong to play with a deep defensive line. Lajong, relying on the speed of Doungel, started to come into the match and started retaining more possession. The Blues were handed a brilliant opportunity to edge Lajong, in the 37th minute, but Josh Walker's precise corner was headed wide by John Johnson.
Bengaluru FC continued with their blistering form and perhaps justified why they are called as the best team in India. Although, the scoreline was 0-0 at halftime, Bengaluru FC were clearly the better team in the first 45 minutes of the match.
Super-sub Robin Singh does the trick
Five minutes after his introduction in the second half, Robin Singh once again did justice to Ashley Westwood's pedigree as a tactician as the Indian scored a sublime 20 yard goal, after Sunil Chhetri picked him out in the final third of the pitch. A minute later, Bengaluru FC were quick to assert their dominance in the match as Shillong Lajong's goalkeeper Bhutia, pulled off a top draw save, to keep them from going two behind.
Bengaluru continued to press for the second goal as efforts from Sunil Chettri were kept out brilliantly by Bhutia constantly. Chettri added a lot of intent to their attack and proved to be a menace for Lajong's right back.
Shillong though came close to equalising in the 84th minute of the match as Doungel blasted a piledriver towards the goal, which was kept out brilliantly by Bengaluru FC's goalkeeper Ralte. As the match approached the 90 minute mark, both teams indulged in end to end stuff.
However, subdued by the efficiency of Bengaluru's defense, Lajong ultimately succumbed to another defeat.