AFC Cup: Bagan defeats Bengaluru 3-1 in a battle of reserves

The battle of reserves – where both sides started with only two players who figured in the Federation Cup semifinal line-ups – saw an interesting exchange as the two opponents played without the usual pressure associated with meetings like this.

Jeje Lalpekhlua, who had a fairly moderate season with Mohun Bagan for his apparent goal-shyness, came out of the inertia in a good measure in the ninth minute.   -  AIFF Media (File pic)

Mohun Bagan got the better of Bengaluru FC 3-1 in a fifth round action of the AFC Cup group E league here at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Wednesday. Jeje Lelpekhlua opened the account early for Mohun Bagan before Kean Lewis and Bikramjit Singh found the target once each after the interval. Seminlen Doungel scored the only goal for Bengaluru FC.

The battle of reserves – where both sides started with only two players who figured in the Federation Cup semifinal line-ups – saw an interesting exchange as the two opponents played without the usual pressure associated with meetings like this. Bagan had striker Balwant Singh and defender Eduardo Ferreira while Bengaluru had forward C.K. Vineeth and central defender Salam Ranjan Singh from the Fed Cup roster. Bengaluru sought to give this match a skip for having almost assured a place in the next round of AFC Cup while Mohun Bagan is already out of the tournament.

Jeje Lalpekhlua, who had a fairly moderate season with Mohun Bagan for his apparent goal-shyness, came out of the inertia in a good measure in the ninth minute. A fine chip from Raynier Fernandes in the midfield found Jeje latching nicely on to the assist before slamming it past Lalthuammawia Ralte in the Bengaluru goal.

Vineeth could not utilise a nice cross from Malsawmzuala in the 18th minute while Seminlen could not put the right finish to another effort in the 24th minute putting Bengaluru in a long wait for the equaliser. Trailing the first half by the lone goal, the visitor came back strongly after the break. Seminlen Doungel capped a nice solo effort in the 52nd minute when he ran in from the midfield and scored past a stranded Bagan defence to make it 1-1.

Kean Lewis, who did the hard work on the flanks, was rewarded for his efforts in the 75thminute when he charged into the Bengaluru box showing some nice foot-work and found the net with a powerful shot that went home deflecting off young opposition defender Gursimrat Singh. Bikramjit Singh made it 3-1 in the 80th minute when he picked up a rebound, after Kean Lewis’ first attempt was blocked, and found the net with a nice effort. Bengaluru remained second in the standings with nine points from five matches while Mohun Bagan was third with six points five matches.

The result: Mohun Bagan 3 (Jeje Lelpekhlua 9, Kean Lewis 75, Bikramjit Singh 80) bt Bengaluru FC 1 (Seminlen Doungel 52).

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