It rained goals at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium as Bengaluru FC progressed to the AFC Cup qualifying round with a resounding 9-1 win over Bhutan's Paro FC in the second leg, rounding off a 10-1 aggregate victory, after last week's 1-0 win at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu.
Semboi Haokip scored four goals for Bengaluru, as he became the first ever player to register hat-tricks in the ISL, I-League and the AFC Cup. His ISL hat-trick came for FC Goa against Mumbai City FC in 2015, while he scored three times for Pune FC against Shillong Lajong in the 2014-15 I-League, that he completed within 15 minutes.
He put Bengaluru on their way tonight, after scoring the away goal in Bhutan last week, converting Erik Paartalu's through-ball on the second attempt, after the 'keeper had saved the first.
Juanan put the Blues two up in the 14th minute, with a neat header off a Nili Perdomo corner. Chencho Gyeltshen scored on his return to Bengaluru with a lovely finish past Prabhsukhan Gill, who was making his debut in the Bengaluru goal.
Deshorn Brown got into the act before half-time after Semboi scored his second, and Bengaluru went into the break 4-1 up.
After half-time the goal glut continued, as Brown and Semboi both completed their respective hat-tricks, become the second and third players to score a hat-trick for the Blues in Asian competition, after Toni Dovale notched up three goals in a 5-0 win over Maldives' TC Sports Club in 2018.
Semboi went on to add his fourth of the night, after being played through by debutant Amay Morajkar late in the game.
Nili Perdomo finished the night with three assists, and also got himself on the scoresheet for the first time in a Bengaluru shirt, as the Blues notched up the biggest ever win in their almost-seven-year history.
This eight-goal winning margin bettered the 7-0 victory over DSK Shivajians in the I-League in 2017. The Blues had six different goal-scorers that night, with Sunil Chhetri notching up a brace and also contributing four assists.
Bengaluru are now through to the playoff round, and face a two-legged tie against Maldivian side Maziya, who got past Abahani Dhaka SC. Carles Cuadrat's team will travel to the Maldives for the first leg on the 19th of February before hosting Maziya on the 26th for the reverse leg at the Kanteerava.
The winner of that tie will go into Group E of the 2020 AFC Cup, which also features Chennai City FC, Bangladeshi champions Bashundhara Kings and TC Sports Club from the Maldives.Published 12 Feb 2020, 21:38 IST