Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bengaluru FC defeat Lao Toyota and make AFC Cup round of 16 again

Bengaluru FC Media 

Bengaluru FC sealed a spot in the Round of 16 of the AFC Cup after goals from Eugeneson Lyngdoh (45th) and Kim Song Yong (60th) in either half gave Bengaluru FC a 2-1 win over Lao Toyota FC at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.

Three points confirmed second place in Group H for the I-League champions with a game in hand against Group leaders and Cup holders Johor Darul Ta’zim of Malaysia. Bengaluru’s opponents will be the leaders of Group F where the battle to pole position is a three-way race between Kitchee (Hong Kong), Kaya (Philippines) and Balestier Khalsa (Singapore) that will be decided in the last round.

The game got off to a rather somber start with Bengaluru happy to ping the ball around and keep as much possession as possible while looking for an opening between Lao’s defensive lines.

Bengaluru began mounting the pressure as the half wore on with Udanta Singh and Sunil Chhetri finding themselves in dangerous positions in the Lao box only to scuff their shots wide. Kim Song Yong then set off on a brilliant solo run from the half line to the Lao box only to shoot over.
But the surge did enough to suggest a Bengaluru FC goal and Lyngdoh picked the first minute of added time to strike. 

A set of swift passes saw Michael Collins float in a cross from the right as Lyngdoh rose and sent his gracefully glanced header way beyond Vathana Keodouangdeth’s reach.

Bengaluru made it 2-0 on the hour mark when Chhetri squared Lyngdoh’s pass to Kim who finished without ado. The North Korean striker had, only a minute earlier, unselfishly teed up Udanta who was inches away from getting a touch with an open goal at his mercy.

But Lao soon pulled a goal back against the run of play when striker Kazuo Homma rose to head in a freekick in the 67th minute to make it 2-1. The goal was followed by the sending off of Ashley Westwood after he protested about Lao Toyota taking the freekick 10 yards ahead of the spot from where it was awarded.

Hopes of a Lao comeback were dealt a hurdle with when the visitors were reduced to 10 men at the death after defender Saynakhonevieng Phommapanya received his marching orders. The side from Laos tried to work out an opening as the game meandered to its end but the Bengaluru FC defence and goalkeeper Amrinder Singh held strong, decisively claiming speculative long balls in and around the Bengaluru penalty box. 



Monday, April 25, 2016

Hero Federation Cup kicks-off this Saturday with Aizawl vs Bengaluru match

AIFF Media 

The Hero Federation Cup will kick-off on April 30, 2016 with Aizawl FC taking on Hero Federation Cup Champions Bengaluru FC. 


The top eight teams as per the standings of the Hero I-League will be playing in the knock-out format on a Home and Away basis including the semifinals with the Final match being slated to be played at a neutral venue.

As per the regulations of the Tournament, the lower ranked Teams (as per the standings of the Hero I-League) are to play their Home match first.

Round One is scheduled to be played on April 30, May 1 and May 2; while Round 2 will be played on May 3, 4 and 5, 2016.

The first round of the semifinals is to be played on May 7 and May 8 with the return legs slated for May 14 and 15.

The Final will be played on May 21.

The schedule of the Tournament is as follows:

Round 1

  • Match No 1: Aizawl FC vs Bengaluru FC (April 30)
  • Match No 2: Salgaocar SC vs Mohun Bagan (May 2)
  • Match No 3: Shillong Lajong FC vs Kingfisher East Bengal (May 1)
  • Match No 4: Mumbai FC vs Sporting Clube de Goa (May 1) 

Round 2

  • Match 5: Bengaluru FC vs Aizawl FC (May 3)
  • Match 6: Mohun Bagan vs Salgaocar FC (May 5)
  • Match 7: Kingfisher East Bengal vs Shillong Lajong FC (May 4)
  • Match 8: Sporting Clube de Goa vs Mumbai FC (May 4)

SEMIFINAL - Round 1

  • Match No 9: Winners of Match 1 & 5 vs Winners of Match 4 & 8
  • Match No. 10: Winners of Match 2 & 6 vs Winners of Match 3 & 7


SEMIFINAL (Round 2)

  • Match No 11: Winners of Match 4 & 8 vs Winners of Match 1 & 5.
  • Match No 12: Winners of Match 3 & 7 vs Winners of Match 2 & 6.


GRAND FINALE: May 21, 2016.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hero I-League comes back to Bengaluru again

I-League Media 
Bengaluru FC Media

April 17, 2016, is Day for the history books! A day to reckon as the Steelmen from the Garden City prevailed over Salgaocar FC, courtesy the two strikes from Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Seiminlen Doungel to triumph their second Hero I-League silverware in three years. 

11,000-odd fans thronged the stadium to see their team clinching the Hero I-League once again, that too at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

If a win is what the Steelmen needed to touch the silverware, Salgaocar FC had the motivation to finish the Hero I-League in a respectable fourth position.

Bengaluru started the game from where they left against Kingfisher East Bengal last week. Attacks, which constituted mostly from the right flank, kept the Salgaocar defense on their toes throughout. They only took nine minutes to crack the visitor’s defense.

The goal came from an awful mix up from the Salgaocar defense when Karanjit Singh came out of charge to clear the ball only to find a clever Eugenson Lyngdoh at the top of the 18-yard box, in his usual calm, the medio placed the ball at the back of the net. Salgaocar FC defense could have averted the danger but the damage work had been done already.

Salgaocar FC, missing several of their regular players, were up for a fierce challenge. Santosh Kashyap’s men never looked the same team who were unbeaten in the last five rounds. It was a one-way traffic thereafter but the visitors survived many times, thanks to some timely save from Karanjit.
The second half resumed a bit late from the scheduled time due to the power failure at one of the towers in the stadium. 

Gaffer Ashley sharpening his attack line resorted to CK Vineeth for Udanta Singh. Eugeneson Lyngdoh, CK Vineeth flooded the Greens' box with a myriad of attacking moves but somehow Salgaocar FC defenders kept the scoreline unchanged.

Jackichand Singh, lately-introduced Semboi Haokip tried every bit to cancel the home team's lead of late, but an alert Bengaluru FC defense parried them away to secure the coveted silverware.

The host put the final nail in the coffin in the 88th minute from a wonderful with the ball run from Captain Sunil Chhetri, who relayed it to an unmarked Seiminlen Doungel, and he taps the ball home to send the crowd into a delirium.

The win gives the Blues an unassailable lead of 5 points over the Mariners, who are slated to host them next Saturday at the Kanchenjunga Stadium. Salgaocar FC succumb to the 6th position with 16 points with one match in hand. 



Saturday, April 16, 2016

Bengaluru face exuberant Salgaocar to seal the league

I-League Media 
Bengaluru FC Media 

Bengaluru FC’s eye on the coveted Hero I-League is pretty apparent. They played with a second string side in their 4th round AFC Cup match against Ayeyawady United, Myanmar last Wednesday. Gaffer Westwood refrained from fielding a full-strength squad which included stars like Sunil Chettri, Eugenson Lyngdoh, and all four foreigners - ensuring he gets his best eleven against Salgaocar tomorrow. 

A win and they take home the Hero I-League. Winning the silverware twice in their three-season existence. That would be an impressive record for Bengaluru FC. 

Salgaocar have been on a late upsurge - they are unbeaten for the past five rounds and fared extremely well in their Round 16 match against Aijwal FC. Playing an away match versus the newly-promoted I-League team, they won 1-0. The win took Santosh Kashyap’s team out of the relegation threat.

Bengaluru Gaffer looked poised, in his usual manner he said, “I have no expectations, it is a normal game of football – we will play for win. Everything is in our hands, hope we’ll put up a good performance, and get results thereafter.”

Ashley further added, “We are at home, chance for us to put up a good performance in front of our fans.” 

Eugenson has been a mainstay in the Bengaluru team. His return after six-weeks of injury has made most of the difference for his team. Citing how tormenting it is to stay away from the game, he responded, “Always tough for a player to be on the sideline, but then Injury is a part and parcel of football.

“When Eugene got injured, Shankar came in and did a good job for us, then he got injured! We always got the capability to shuffle around. Should Eugune being fit throughout the season, he probably wouldn’t have played all the games, we would have rotated him. It is just another opportunity for players to step into his shoes”, Ashley added. 

With two more rounds to go (including tomorrow’s match), Salgaocar would surely like to climb up the points table, and finish as the 4th best team. But most importantly they would be spoiling Bengaluru’s party and keep the I-League alive till the last round. 

However, one major worry for Kashyap’s is his star performer Daryll Duffy’s absence. Duffy, who has scored eleven goals for Salgaocar in HeroI-league, is not considered for the match owing to card suspension. 

“We are not in pressure, the pressure is on Bengaluru, giggled Kashyap.

”We will see how we can put more pressure on them, so that they crack.”

Santosh Kashyap added, “We’ve achieved our first objective, which is to avoid relegation. Now we are aiming to finish at the top for and we will achieve only by playing well in the last two rounds.”

Salgaocar coach is unperturbed by Duffy’s absence, “Duffy is an important member, in his absence, we’ve defeated East Bengal, also, fared well on other matches in his absence.” 
The Goan team missing few more players due to injury, Kashyap added, “It is not just only Duffey, there are several other members like Gurjinder Kumar, Calvin Mbarga, Clifton Dias, who are injured and not in the recent scheme of things. But we have a big squad, it is up to the players like Manandeep and rest to rise to the occasion.” 

When the title of the league is decided in the last 4 minutes of the final round, it is too early to decide, considering there are still two rounds left. 



Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bengaluru FC notch key win, beat Ayeyawady 5-3

Bengaluru FC Media 

An Alwyn George brace and goals from CK Vineeth, Len Doungel and substitute Beikhokhei Beingaichho saw Bengaluru FC beat Myanmar’s Ayeyawady United FC 5-3 in a high-scoring AFC Cup Group H fixture at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.
With this result, Bengaluru FC occupy second position in group H with six points from four games.  Defending Champions Johor Darul Ta’zim are in pole position with 12 points from their four games.

In a heavily altered starting XI, one having no foreigners and with Sunday’s big game against Salgaocar gaining rightful precedence, Ashley Westwood handed 18-year-old Nishu Kumar his club debut while Lalthuammawia Ralte started in goal. In fact, the squad did not feature Sunil Chhetri, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, John Johnson, Rino Anto and Curtis Osano while Michael Collins missed the fixture with a suspension.

But the young side showed no signs of pressure and put Ayeyawady on the back foot with a flurry of attacks from the first minute on. Daniel Lalhlimpuia was set up smartly by Vineeth in the box and the youngster’s dragged attempt from close ricocheted off the crossbar. Alwyn George, Len Doungel and Vineeth then all came close with chances they should have finished off.

Bengaluru eventually got the lead in the 20th minute when Vineeth made the most of a poor back pass, got a touch to put the ball beyond an onrushing Ayeyawady ’keeper before regain his shape and slotting into an empty net.
But for all their domination, Bengaluru’s failure to take their chances – some of them more than gilt-edged – saw them pay the price a minute before half-time. Christopher Chizoba forced Manju to commit and then set Zaw whose strike beat Ralte past his right as the half ended 1-1.

Westwood didn’t press any changes to start the second half with and Bengaluru shot into the lead when George tapped home his first goal in a Blues shirt in the 61st minute. Meeting a low cross from Vishal Kumar, George saw his first take saved by Vanlal only to get a second chance that he put away.

Vineeth then set up Doungel in the 66th minute to make it 3-1. Picking the ball on the left, Doungel powered his way past his marker before shooting past Vanlal with his left.
Just when Bengaluru felt they had a lead that would let them breathe easy, an impressive display from Chizoba seemed to throw a spanner in their works. Picking up the ball 20 yards from goal, the Nigerian striker cut past a covering Vishal Kumar and then lashed a fierce grounder which beat Ralte’s flailing hands and gave the side from Myanmar a glimmer of hope.

Just nine minutes later, an optimistic effort from the edge of the box along the carpet, something which Ralte should have gobbled up, inexplicably evaded the Bengaluru ‘keeper’s grasp, deflecting off his hands and into the goal, restoring parity for Ayeyawady.

It was easy for heads to drop in the hosts’ camp but an inspired run from Vineeth down the left saw him power past his marker and put in another rapid, low cross which a sliding Beikhokhei Beingaichho bundled in.

Having regained the lead and with just a minute of regulation time remaining, the Blues went for the kill as Udanta Singh, substituted in for Doungel, left two Ayeyawady central defenders trailing in his wake. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Udanta hammered his shot into the body of the keeper but Alwyn George reprieved the youngster, smashing the ball into the roof of the net to give his side a 5-3 lead and the three valuable points.