AFC Cup: Nishu powers BFC to pole position

Nishu Kumar scored a last-gasp goal as Bengaluru FC prevailed 1-0 and moved to the top of group 'E'.

Sunil Chhetri in action for Bengaluru FC.   -  AP

Albert Roca struck gold with his final roll of the dice, as Bengaluru FC talisman Sunil Chhetri - coming on as a second-half substitute - set up Nishu Kumar's injury time winner against New Radiant SC in the AFC Cup at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Tuesday.

But the Catalan manager wasn't there to witness it, sent off as he was minutes earlier, for first vehemently protesting a decision by the referee to not award a penalty for a foul on Chhetri and then refusing to calm down.

The goal – an easy tap in at the far post after Chhetri squared the ball – took BFC three points clear at the top of group 'E' and was also a redemption of sorts for Nishu, whose time spent displaying his primary skill of defending, was largely forgettable.

From the outset, New Radiant pressed with great verve and played a remarkably high line with its right back Akram Gani - often the most advanced player on the pitch. He was aided in no small measure by left-back Nishu, who was almost always out of position. The away side, in fact, controlled nearly three-thirds of the ball but sadly had nothing to show.

Instead, it was the home team which had two clear-cut chances, both of them falling to forward Semboi Haokip. First, he was released on goal by an excellent ball from Daniel Segovia, only to be outpaced by the New Radiant defenders.

The second was a result of another good combination play between the two forwards but it ended with Semboi's shot being headed off the goal-line by Haroon Amiri.

It was more of the same in the second period too before Chhetri, coming on in the 70th minute, worked his magic.

The result: Bengaluru FC 1 (Nishu Kumar 90) bt New Radiant FC 0.