CHENNAI:That Bengaluru FC would keep their end of the bargain was a foregone conclusion. They did just that by beating lowly Dhaka Abahani 4-0 in Dhaka but what enabled them to qualify for the knockouts of the AFC Cup was Aizawl’s surprise 2-1 win over New Radiant in Guwahati. The Maldivian club, who were toppers when the day began, needed a win to guarantee a place in the zonal semis but fluffed their lines against Aizawl and lost 2-1.
That paved the way for BFC to get out of the group for a fourth year in a row. Heavy overnight rains had threatened to derail Albert Roca’s men but the result was never in doubt after the visitors scored the opening goal through Daniel Segovia in the 13th minute. Further goals from Nishu Kumar (16th and 58th) killed the game as a contest before Sunil Chhetri (60th) put the gloss on a commanding display.
While Segovia started the rout, it was, in fact, Chhetri’s play-making abilities which made the difference at the start. His clever pass set up Segovia for the opener. Three minutes later, he took the ball, escaped the attention of a few of the hosts’ players before teeing up Kumar’s first. The pattern of play was set as the Indians took care of the ball like it was their baby. The dominant BFC added a third 13 minutes into the second stanza as Chhetri completed a hat-trick of assists for Kumar’s second.Two minutes later, Chhetri got his name into the scoresheet. BFC, who finished top of South Asia, will play the winners of Central Asian zone, East Asian zone or ASEAN zone.