BENGALURU: A bad game and Bengaluru FC were almost shown the door from the AFC Cup. That 0-2 result against New Radiant SC in the Maldives could have potentially shut them out of the continental tournament for almost two years. To reverse that, they needed to win the two remaining games and also see the Maldives champions drop points.
While BFC thumped Aizawl FC 5-0, thanks to goals from Sunil Chhetri (16), Daniel Segovia (17, 62), Udanta Singh (30) and Daniel Lalhimpuia (89), on Wednesday in their last home game of the season, their fate still hangs in balance. Ironically, they now need Aizawl to either win or draw against Radiant, who thrashed Dhaka Abahani 5-1.
The Group E match at Kanteerava Stadium demanded nothing less than a win for the Super Cup champions. And to amend their poor show at Maldives, they needed to show character, as their captain Chhetri demanded. They did so, piling up pressure from the word go. Within 20 minutes, the host had three chances as Chhetri, Udanta, Segovia and Nishu Kumar all had taken shots at the Aizawl goal by then.
While Segovia and Nishu missed chances, Chhetri converted from the penalty spot. BFC’s top scorer was through on goal after Segovia found him a brilliant pass and Aizawl keeper Lalawmpuia brought him down. Next up was Segovia, who after receiving a pass from Erik Paartalu, calmly slotted home to double the lead. Within half-an-hour, the scoreline read 3-0 as Udanta also converted his chance following a Chhetri pass inside the box.
But it was far from over for Albert Roca’s men. They wanted more. Santosh Kashyap’s side was poor everywhere, especially in defence. The boys from the hills had no response to BFC’s attack and Udanta’s pace, as they were seen running behind the BFC forwards most of the time. And when they actually had openings, Aizawl forwards misfired, summing up their state in their first-ever AFC Cup campaign.
The second half was no different. Although BFC looked to score, they failed on multiple occasions. Among those chances, BFC converted one to make it 4-0. Subhasish Bose’s cross found Segovia, who put it past Lalawmpuia to bag a brace. The show was not over yet. Substitute Lalhimpuia scored from a Chhetri assist for a scoreline which proved BFC’s prowess but may still not be enough for them to advance.