Bengaluru FC bows out of AFC Cup following penalty shootout defeat to Maziya
After losing 2-1 away in the first leg, Bengaluru FC won 3-2 in the second leg but lost in the penalty shootout to exit the AFC Cup in the second round of the playoffs.
Bengaluru FC failed to progress to the group stage of the AFC Cup.
Bengaluru FC failed to progress to the AFC Cup group stage after going down to Maziya S&RC 4-3 in the penalty shoot-out (sudden death) at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday.
Skipper Sunil Chhetri’s excellent freekick in the dying seconds of extra time levelled the aggregate score at 4-4 [first-leg Maziya 2-1] and sent the playoff into penalties. Once there, BFC scored three of its first four kicks, including a delightful panenka by Chhetri.
But up 3-2, Deshorn Brown squandered the golden opportunity to take BFC home, blasting his kick way over the bar to let Maziya drag it to sudden death. But youngster Parag Shrivas sent the first sudden death penalty soaring over before Hussain Nihan sealed the deal for Maziya.
Early in the evening, one could have been forgiven if they had not anticipated the late drama. The first half was largely tepid. Chhetri started on the bench and Udanta Singh and Ashique Kuruniyan were mostly ineffective; a diving save from the Maziya goalie Ovays Azizi off a Erik Paartalu long-ranger and a Nili Perdomo free kick, the two notable moments of action.
It took just five minutes of the second period for Carles Cuadrat to withdraw Udanta and introduce Chhetri. But it was Suresh Wangjam who made the difference with an electric run on the left flank that left the Maziya defenders gasping, before his cut back was turned in expertly by Brown.
Maziya equalised on 74 minutes through substitute Ibrahim Waheed but the work was done by Cornelious Ezekiel who beat three men before laying the ball at Waheed’s feet. Chhetri ensured BFC wouldn’t be eliminated when he slotted in a rebound after Perdomo’s fierce first shot was kept out by Azizi.
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With the sides locked at 3-3, the match slipped into extra time. Azizi kept Maziya floating with a superb reflex save off Rahul Bheke. Ezekiel sent Maziya into raptures, scoring in the 102nd minute what he and his teammates thought was a crucial second away goal.
The Maziya players and coach in fact started celebrating at the end of 120 minutes not realising that away goals scored in extra time do not carry extra weight. But they wouldn’t be denied the sweet taste of victory.