AFC Cup: Bengaluru FC scores a fine comeback win

Bengaluru FC staged a remarkable comeback to defeat Aizawl FC 3-1 in their Group E AFC Cup encounter.

Bengaluru FC players celebrate after scoring against Aizwal FC in their AFC Cup clash on Thursday.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Bengaluru FC scored a fine comeback win as it erased a goal’s deficit to beat host Aizawl FC 3-1 in a Group E match of the AFC Cup, here at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Thursday.

Leonce Dodoz opened the scoring for Aizawl early in the first half before Daniel Segovia got the equaliser for the visitor in the final minute of the session. Rahul Bheke and substitute Daniel Lalhlimpuia found the net once each after the break to complete the scoreline for Bengaluru, which now tallied full six points from its second successive win.

Bengaluru coach Albert Roca induced seven changes in the side that played the Super Cup match against Gokulam FC, resting among others the two key names in offense – Sunil Chhetri and Kuman Udanta Singh and the goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

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Playing under a persistent drizzle, Aizawl showed the initiative as it enjoyed the edge in the early exchanges. Aizawl, recovering under the care of new coach Santosh Kashyap, opened the scoring as earlry as the fifth minute on a move that built up through the centre.

Romanian play-maker Andrei Ionescu played a nice forward pass for Albert Zohmingmawia, who was lurking unmarked near the BFC box. The BFC goalkeeper, Lalthuammawia Ralte, charged out sensing danger but could not save the situation completely as Albert’s attempt rebounded off him – giving Dodoz an open goal to slot home.

The Ivory Coast striker had a chance to double the lead but his angular attempt in the 33rd minute sailed over.

Stung by the early goal, Bengaluru tried to regroup by spreading its game on the flanks. Subhasish Bose, who started as a defensive half, was the most notable name in the BFC build-up as he was quickly altered in a role of a nippy winger. The Blues found the equaliser off a penalty awarded in the last minute of in the opening half, when the Aizawl scorer, Dodoz, made the cardinal error of handling while trying to clear a header by the BFC defender Erik Paartalu following a corner.

Spanish striker Daniel Segovia found the net from the spot giving the visitor the platform to launch a comeback after the break.

Segovia could well have given BFC the lead in the 53rd minute, when the visitor earned the second penalty of the match after Bose was brought down inside own box, but the former saw his attempt go off the upright.

Bheke gave BFC the lead in the 64th minute after nodding home a cross from Alwyn George. Daniel, who replaced Thongkhosiem Haokip in the second half, found the net off a fine grounder to make it 3-1 for BFC and take the game away from Aizawl.

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