ISL Semifinals: Bengaluru v NorthEast United - 5 Talking Points as Miku, Dimas Delgado, Sunil Chhetri strikes take BFC into ISL Final
A superb strike from Miku, a tap-in by Dimas Delgado and a Sunil Chhetri formality helped Bengaluru FC go past NorthEast United in their ISL semifinal and confirm their berth in the Indian Super League (ISL) final.
Miku's second-half goal helped Bengaluru go 1-0 up at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium against NorthEast United. While that goal would have been enough to take them through on an away goal, Dimas Delgado finished a move that was started at the other end by Udanta Singh to comfortably seal the spot in the final.
Sunil Chhetri piled the misery on NorthEast by slotting past Pawan Kumar in a one-on-one situation.
After losing the first 2-1 in Guwahati, Bengaluru were 3-0 winners on Monday to qualify 4-2 on aggregate.
The match had its share of drama and unfortunate incidents. Miku missed a flurry of chances early on before finally slotting past NorthEast goalkeeper Pawan Kumar in the 72nd minute.
NorthEast were dealt a blow when Federico Gallego suffered an injury early in the second half and had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Bengaluru felt they were denied a penalty in the 77th minute when Keegan Pereira forcibly stopped Udanta Singh in the box. But they won't mind as they are sure to play at the Mumbai Football Arena this Sunday against either FC Goa or Mumbai City.
Considering that Goa beat Mumbai City 5-1 in the first leg, it's most probably going to be Bengaluru v Goa in the ISL final this Sunday.
Before that, here's what was most talked about at the Kanteerava on Monday:
Bengaluru and their second leg fortunes
There was a big question mark over whether Bengaluru would be able to fight back in the second leg.
But it wasn't the first time that Bengaluru had their backs up against the wall.
Bengaluru made the AFC Cup final in 2016 with a 3-1 second leg win over Johor Darul Ta'zim after the first leg ended in a 1-1 draw in Malaysia. In the ISL semifinals last year, they were unable to get an away goal against Pune City but at the Kanteerava, they secured a berth in the final with a 3-1 victory.
Even against Tampines Rovers in the AFC Cup 2016 quarterfinal, they defended a one-goal advantage in Singapore and progressed.
It's definitely not a simple task to put up a second leg performance when the odds are turned against a side but for Bengaluru, it seems to be in their DNA to fight until the very end. The first half didn't go Bengaluru's way but they made up for it with a gritty second-half show and got the much-needed goal and victory.
The one time it didn't pan out as they expected was against Altyn Asyr in the AFC Cup 2018, coach Carles Cuadrat's first game in charge, where they lost 2-3 at home and 0-2 away.