LNTUP

Aizawl FC 0-1 Bengaluru FC

Photo: AIFF
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Aizawl and Bengaluru played out a nerve-wracking semi-final at the Barabati Stadium, with the Blues emerging victorious courtesy of a 8th minute Cameron Watson penalty. However the road to the finale wasn’t as easy as it seem. Bengaluru defender Sandesh Jhingan conceded a penalty in the very last minute of the game and the Blues were well en course to play extra-time but Amrinder Singh rose to the event to make a nerve-wracking save in the final minute to end Aizawl’s hope of making two consecutive Federation Cup finals.

However the road to the finale wasn’t as easy as it seem. Bengaluru defender Sandesh Jhingan conceded a penalty in the very last minute of the game and the Blues were well en course to play extra-time but Amrinder Singh rose to the event to make a nerve-wracking save in the final minute to end Aizawl’s hope of making two consecutive Federation Cup finals.

Bengaluru FC started the match on a bright note. Their first attempt came in the second minute when CK Vineeth stormed with the ball into the box and tried to cross it in but Albino Gomes collected the delivery which wasn’t rightly aimed for the net.

Bengaluru FC opened the scoring in as early as the 8th minute, courtesy of a Cameron Watson penalty. It all started when CK Vineeth flied a cross inside the box which saw Alwyn George being brought down. This lead to a penalty being gifted to the Blues. Cameron Watson stepped up for the penalty and made no mistake in finding the back of the net.

Aizawl’s players reacted quickly and Jaryan, Al-Amna and Lalruatthara combined well to spice up things. The midfielders confused the defensive forces of Bengaluru FC which left space for the Mizoram outfit to hunt. Jaryan sent a through ball for Kamo Bayi who had space wide open to him and was also onside. The Ivorian attempted to shoot at the target but a well-timed tackle from Juanan meant that BFC could breathe easily for the time being.

Bengaluru reacted quickly by launching an attack of their own. In the 21st minute CK Vineeth ran towards the goal in what was almost a one-one-on situation but defender Kingsley followed the Kerala Blasters player and put in a great tackle which stopped his move. Now, the striker sent the ball behind to Alwyn George who was in a good position to shoot the ball but he goofed up as he sent the ball way too high.

The next chance of the match came in the 27th minute and Bengaluru FC’s defence was caught in jitter this time. Laldanmawia sent in a cross from the right to find Kamo Bayi inside the box. The Ivorian was totally unmarked and succeeded to head the ball towards the target. However, the delivery went wide and the defenders in blue were relieved.

As the clock approached towards the half hour mark, Aizawl found themselves a step sort of Bengaluru’s achievements in the match. However, it was the Reds from Mizoram who had dominated the game since conceding the opener.

Bengaluru had the chance to double their lead in the 39th minute when Watson’s shot hit the post. Cameron Watson launched a long ranger and he got it right. The delivery was totally on target but the shooter was unfortunate as it came off the woodwork. That was the last action before both the teams approached towards the dressing room.

Al-Amna was booked in the initial stages of the second half for diving inside the box as the Aleppo born player had no contact with the opponents but fell to the ground. The second half of the game showed the tiredness of the players. Bengaluru FC looked threatening more than often and Roca’s men were guilty of not getting a two goal cushion. Aizawl stayed back and took time before launching an attack but Khalid Jamil’s men went for an all out attack in the dying minutes of the tie. They had a great chance to score in the last minute of regular time when Laldanmawia made space for himself and cut past Khabra but his shot wad denied by Amrinder Singh.

The drama ramped up another notch as Jhingan and Kamo Bayi clashed in the 97th minute and the referee was quick enough to react and hand a penalty to the North-Eastern outfit. As the things stood, the players were preparing themselves for another 30 minutes of football but Amrinder Singh had other ideas.

Lalramchullova stepped up for the final opportunity of putting up an equaliser however he couldn’t get the better of Amrinder Singh as the goalkeeper dived to the right side of the delivery. Amarinder’s save ensured Bengaluru of a place in the finals of the ongoing Federation Cup. Bengaluru FC will now play the winner of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in the ultimate showdown on 21st May.