Bengaluru FC coasts to AFC knockout stage

Bengaluru FC defeated Abahani Dhaka 4-0 to advance to the knockout stages of the AFC Cup.

Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri in action against Abahani Dhaka in an AFC Cup encounter at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, in Bangladesh, on Wednesday.   -  Special Arrangement

Nishu Kumar’s brace in Bengaluru FC’s 4-0 win over Abahani Dhaka here and Aizawl FC’s 2-1 upset win over New Radiant in Guwahati ensured BFC’s passage into the AFC Cup knockout stages on Wednesday. The win propelled the Albert Roca coached side to the top of Group E with 15 points from six games.

 

Prior to the final round of fixtures, BFC and New Radiant were locked on 12 points but the latter’s better head-to-head record meant that it needed to just match BFC’s result to progress. Even as Sunil Chhetri inspired BFC notched up a comfortable win, Aizawl put paid to New Radiant’s hopes and claimed its first win of its campaign.

Two goals in a span of three minutes early on effectively killed the contest. The opener came in the 13th minute when Chhetri rolled the ball perfectly across the face of the goal for Daniel Segovia to tap in. The skipper then went past two Abahani players to set up Nishu to double the lead in the 16th minute. BFC went on to dominate the half and ended the half with 55 percent of possession.

 

Much like the first half, BFC scored quickfire goals yet again in the second half to seal the tie. Nishu scored his second  of the evening when Chhetri chipped the ball over the Abahani defence and saw the former control the ball on his chest before firing home in the 57th minute. Chhetri then scored his 24th goal of the season three  minutes later to round off a convincing win.

A draw process involving four zones – Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and ASEAN - will determine BFC’s next opponent.

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