AFC Cup: BFC's second-string side earns 1-0 win over Abahani Dhaka

Daniel Lalhlimpuia scored the winner in the 72nd minute with a half-volley from inside the box after Daniel Segovia had headed an Alwyn George cross from the right flank into his path.

BFC's Daniel (25) celebrates with his teamates after scoring a goal on Wednesday.   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

Bengaluru FC opened its 2018 AFC Cup campaign with a nervy 1-0 win over Abahani Dhaka at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday. Daniel Lalhlimpuia scored the winner in the 72nd minute with a half-volley from inside the box after Daniel Segovia had headed an Alwyn George cross from the right flank into his path.

With the Indian Super League final looming, coach Albert Roca chose to rest almost his entire first-team squad and it showed in the performance. Much of its play in the first period was scrappy but it didn’t suffer because Abahani was equally inept. The only player from either side to show a creative streak was the visitors’ attacking midfielder Kojima Seiya. It was no surprise then that he was involved in the two best chances of the half.

In the 16th minute he made a driving run into the box but headed the ball straight into goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte’s hands. The Japanese then made another darting run, dribbled past a defender and shot from a tight angle but was again thwarted by Ralte. BFC, on the other hand didn’t register a single shot on target with only Lalhlimpuia, twice from a distance, and Semboi Haokip, from close range off a fine Victor Perez cross, threatening.

After the break, the home side displayed more verve with Alwyn on the right wing constantly troubling Abahani left back Waly Faisal. But it was wasteful when it mattered. Perez sent a free kick over from a promising position and then fluffed two half-chances – one when he went for the spectacular to turn in a cross from Alwyn with a half-volley and then when he failed to connect with a cut-back.

Haokip too came close but sent a low shot wide. But Lalhlimpuia ensured that his side wouldn’t regret any of them.

“I am happy with the performance,” Roca said later. “These were players who are not used to playing much. But they showed that they belong to the squad.”

The result:
Bengaluru FC 1 (Daniel Lalhlimpuia 72) bt Abahani Dhaka 0.

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