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AFC Cup: Chhetri goal leads Bengaluru to first win of the tournament

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AFC Cup: Chhetri goal leads Bengaluru to first win of the tournament

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Arun S Kaimal


Bengaluru FC notched up the first win of their AFC Cup campaign today in their trip to Yangon defeating Ayeyawady United to keep their hopes of qualifying to the next round alive. Chhetri hit his sixth goal of the season in the first half as the Blues held on to their slender lead until the end.

AUFC XI: Vanlal, San, Thein, Thu, Win, Zaw, Naing, Phyo, Abubakar, Hanson, Iyikwobe.

BFC XIAmrinder Singh, Rino Anto, John Johnson, Keegan Perreira, Lalchuanmawia, Alwyn George, Siam Hangal, Michael Collins, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Kim Song Yong

In the first Group G game of gameweek 3, Bengaluru FC travelled to Myanmar in search of their first win in the AFC cup having suffered two defeats in the cup already. Coach Ashley Westwood started with Udanta Singh and Kim-Song-Yong in attack to partner skipper Sunil Chhetri.

The Blues started brightly with Siam Hangal and Alwyn creating chances for each other and came close on a couple of occasions. Chizoba got a brilliant chance in the 19th minute to put the away side into the lead, but his shot was way over the crossbar. Kim Song Yong and Udanta Singh’s influence on the game started to increase, and with half an hour gone, the Manipuri winger dropped a pin-point cross on John Johnson’s head, only for the Englishman to head wide.

In the 34th minute, Bengaluru FC finally broke the deadlock, and again it was Udanta Singh orchestrating the whole play. The 19-year old’s cutback saw Chhetri have a clear sight at goal, but the Indian skipper could not time his shot, and the ball bobbled on to the ground and somehow dodged the keeper, hitting the net. Chhetri had his head in his hands for a moment, but the ball eventually did find its way past Vanlal in goal to put Bengaluru ahead going into the break.

While the first half saw Bengaluru attack from the word go, in the second half the Indians sat back for most parts with John Johnson once again being the leader of the pack and organizing the defence. Burmese player Chizoba started to threaten the visitors with his long shots before getting booked after having a few harsh words for the referee over a foul. The home side continued to threaten, but Bengaluru defended in numbers, with Rino Anto blocking a shot from Hanson. If not for Chhuantea’s brilliant interception, Bengaluru would have conceded an equalizer in the 73rd minute when the home side found themselves 2-on-1 with the defender, but the 26-year old showed immense composure to stop Chizoba.

Ashley Westwood responded to fire with fire by introducing strikers Daniel Lalhiumpia for Alwyn George and Thoi Singh for Kim Song Yong, thus slowing down the game. Udanta Singh had a late chance but went for glory instead when he could have laid it on for Vineeth who was free in the middle. The away side slowed down the game, taking the sting out of it seeing themselves over the line to record their first win of the AFC Cup.

Bengaluru FC face the same opposition at home in their next AFC Cup game on April 13.

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