Newly crowned I-League champions Bengaluru FC secured their place in the knockout round of the AFC Cup with a 2-1 win over Lao Toyota at Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday. Goals from Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Kim Song-Yong were enough to see them through, as Lao struggled to create chances.
With Ayeyawady United losing to Johor Darul Ta'zim in their clash earlier today, Bengaluru FC were handed a golden opportunity to secure their place in the next round of the AFC Cup. The newly crowned I-League champions made a slow start to the game, as Lao tried their luck from distance with a couple of shots from outside the box.
The home side slowly strengthened their grip over the match, and disrupted Lao's gameplay in the midfield. A series of corners for the Blues eventually led to a shot on target by Udanta Singh, who won the young player of the year award, but his header was kept out by Vatthana Kaoduangdeth in the 14th minute.
Bengaluru dominated possession at the center of the park, but failed to create too many clear-cut openings in front of the goal. At the other end, Amrinder was forced into making a save by another long range effort from Lao, this time from Khouanta Sivongthong, as Lao tried their luck from the distance.
Udanta and Sunil Chhetri continued to trouble the Lao's defence as the match progressed towards the halftime whistle, and eventually, in the 45th minute, Eugeneson Lyngdoh gave them the deserved lead. The midfielder produced a stunning header into the far corner of the net, after Michael Collins picked him out in the box with a beautiful cross.
Despite some good buildup play by Lao at the start of the second half, it was Bengaluru who doubled their lead in the 60th minute. A stunning chipped pass from the midfield was met with a delightful cushion touch from Sunil Chhetri. The ball was perfectly weighted for Kim Song-Yong to apply the finishing touch at the far post and put his team in a strong position in the game.
However, seven minutes later Lao pulled one back through Kazuo Homma and made it 2-1. The visitors won a free-kick on their right wing and Itsuki Yamada delivered a dangerous ball at the near post with his left foot. Homma rose above his marker Nishu Kumar and headed the ball past Amrinder Singh in the Bengaluru goal.
Bengaluru missed a lot of opportunity to reclaim their two-goal advantage towards the end, but they failed to make them count. Thankfully for them, Lao were unable to build on their goal, and their comeback was further halted by the fact that Lao defender Saynakhonevieng Phommapanya got a red card in the 89th minute.
The match ended 2-1 as the Blues secured their progress to the next round of the tournament.