Marjan Jugovic emerged as an unlikely hero in Bengaluru FC’s dramatic 1-0 victory over Aizawl FC, in an I-League encounter at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Sunday.
With the match heading to a goalless draw, Jugovic found the net deep into injury-time to send the home fans into a tizzy. Jugovic, who had looked unimpressive until this point, met a free-kick from Sunil Chhetri with a neat header to defeat the Aizawl FC custodian. Just a few minutes earlier, the Serbian forward would have wished the ground swallowed him whole, when he missed a simple tap-in.
This win has breathed life into a stuttering BFC (21 points) campaign, even as the side made no upward movement from a mid-table fifth-spot.
It was an improved show by the home side, which played as a cohesive unit. The midfield - manned by Cameron Watson, Lenny Rodrigues and Eugeneson Lyngdoh - controlled the pace well.
A tense period of play marked the first-half, when Aizawl FC coach Khalid Jamil - no stranger to confrontation, as witnessed in previous encounters at this venue - got into a verbal duel with Chhetri. The spectators - they directed unparliamentary chants at Jamil right from kick-off - now voiced their displeasure that much louder. To his credit, Jamil did not react to unrelenting provocation from the vociferous section of the crowd, which was seated right behind him.
After the outing, a diplomatic Jamil said, "It was nothing. All this happens in football."
Aizawl FC defender, Ashutosh Mehta, nearly pulled off an incredible strike, at the stroke of half-time. From way outside the box, Ashutosh sent in a rifle with his right foot, only to see the ball deflect off
the side-post. The visitor came mighty close on more occasions, but BFC managed to survive the scare.
"I applaud my team. We have not had a great run in the I-League so far, but that gave us extra motivation to do well. We fought hard throughout the match. We wanted to make our fans happy. This is a happy occasion for us," BFC coach Albert Roca said.
The result: Bengaluru FC 1 (Marjan Jugovic 90+4) bt Aizawl FC 0.
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