BENGALURU: Talk about super-subs and Javier Hernandez, Olivier Giroud or even Robert Lewandowski might probably feature in the list for recent times.
Back in India, though, there are not many players who turn around things after coming off the bench. Yet, Bengaluru FC may have just found their man in such situations in their new recruit, Daniel Segovia. The Spanish playmaker came on in place of academy graduate Robinson Singh in the 61st minute and changed the course of the game as Bengaluru registered a 1-0 victory over Dhaka Abahani in their AFC Cup Group E opener.
With the ISL final on Saturday, BFC coach Albert Roca completely overhauled the starting line-up. However, it was not the best football on display from a young squad, with missed passes and loss of possession in the midfield. However, Abahani failed to capitalise. The visitors had the best chances in the first half, with the first in the 16th minute. Mamun Miah’s cross found Japanese forward Kojima Seiya inside the box, but his header couldn’t trouble BFC keeper Lalthummawia Ralte.
Seiya was perhaps the brightest spot for Abahani. He created another chance in the 35th minute. Emeka Onuoha’s ball from the left found Seiya, who dribbled past a defender, but once again Ralte kept him at bay.
With Abahani losing steam early in the second-half, BFC pressed hard, and the game changed after Segovia came on. Like against Kerala Blasters, where he created two chances that ended as goals, he inspired BFC.
Ten minutes into his game time, Segovia did his job. Alwyn George’s cross found Segovia, who brilliantly headed the ball for Daniel Lalhlimpuia to score.
Aizawl lose out
The other Indian team in the competition, Aizawl FC, suffered a 1-3 drubbing at the hands of New Radiant with inspirational skipper Ali Ashfaq’s hat-trick leading the Maldivian charge here.