Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Walker penalty sees Bengaluru FC through

Bengaluru FC Media 

A first-half penalty by Joshua Walker was enough to see off Singapore club Warriors FC as the Blues garnered an important 1-0 win in an AFC Cup Group E game at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Tuesday. Bengaluru’s second win in three games takes them to six points and keeps their chase of qualifying for the pre-quarterfinal stage, firmly on track. 

With as many as four key players away on national duty, Walker stepped up and shouldered much of the added responsibility, constantly being involved in attacks and defending stubbornly when the need arose. But as influential as Walker was the performance by goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte who had a solid day in goal, pulling off a couple of splendid saves to make sure the slender lead didn’t prove to be a disadvantage. 

The goal came in the 36th minute after CK Vineeth was hauled down by Daniel Bennett in the box prompting referee Ho Wai Sing to point to the spot. Walker walked up and struck a firm shot past ’keeper Ong Daniel’s right to give the Blues a lead they would comfortably protect till full time. 

Reinforced with the return of Siam Hanghal and Shankar Sampingiraj who were away at the India Under-23 camp in Goa, Westwood handed the duo starts in the midfield while CK Vineeth got the nod down the left. The game got off to a rather slow start with both teams cautious of giving conceding an early goal.

Slowly picking pace, the encounter saw its first effort as Vineeth found himself unmarked in the penalty area. But, his shot from close range was ruled offside before a free-kick from Warriors midfielder Mohamed Rahim was tipped over the bar by Bengaluru ’keeper Lalthuammawia Ralte. Heading into the break and holding the slender advantage, Bengaluru began passing the ball around with more purpose as the visitors chased the goal they needed to keep them alive. Warriors did get their chance when Argentinian striker Nicolas Velez smashed a shot in the 63rd minute that drew a solid save from Ralte who did everything right on the day.

Bengaluru’s next AFC Cup fixture takes them to Singapore on April 14 for the reverse leg against Warriors who, with three losses in as many games, will look to set things right at home.