ISL 2017/18: Debutants Bengaluru FC become first team to book semi-final spot this season
Bengaluru FC and debut seasons seem to be a fairytale affair. Not only did they win the I-League in their first season in the Indian top flight, but they are also flying high in the ongoing season of the ISL.
So much so, that the Blues, who are currently at the top of the league, have already secured a top-four spot in the round robin stage of the tournament, thus ensuring their entry into the semifinal playoffs.
Although the ISL is a 10-team league, the top four sides got into a two-legged semi-final, with the two aggregate winner meeting in the summit clash for the title.
Bengaluru FC, who have now notched up 11 wins in their 15 matches, have already ensured qualification for the playoffs. After beating 2015 finalists FC Goa 2-0 comprehensively at the Sree Kanteerava stadium, in Bengaluru, on Friday, they confirmed a top 4 berth in the league table.
In a high-voltage clash between to sides that like to score goals, Bengaluru FC took the lead through an Edu Garcia goal in the 36th minute.
While FC Goa prodded and poked at the BFC penalty area for the majority of the game, the Blues secured the win, as Dimas Delgado latched on to a loose ball inside the opposition area, catching the FC Goa defence by surprise. All he had to do was slot it past the on-rushing keeper Naveen Kumar, which he did with relative ease.
This victory means that the Blues have now become the first team in the 2017/18 ISL season to book their spot in the semifinals. On paper, FC Goa, who have played only 13 matches as of yet, can still overtake BFC if they win all their remaining matches.
Aditionally, they have also become the first debutant side to make it to the top four (if one does not count the inaugural ISL season). The Blues, along with Jamshedpur FC, are the two debut sides this season.
However, the Gaurs are set to play top-four contenders like Chennaiyin FC, FC Pune City, and Jamshedpur FC in their remaining five games (ATK and Delhi Dynamos being the other two opponents). Should they win all these matches, one of the three aforementioned teams are set to drop out of top-four contention, which means the Bengaluru FC have safely made it to the top fours in their debut season.