ISL: BFC makes play-offs with 2-0 win over FC Goa

Goals from Edu Garcia and Dimas Delgado sealed a comfortable 2-0 win for Bengaluru FC over FC Goa in the Indian Super League on Friday.

Dimas Delgado celebrates after scoring Bengaluru FC's second goal of the night against FC Goa.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Bengaluru FC became the first team to secure its berth in the Indian Super League play-offs with a convincing 2-0 triumph over FC Goa at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Friday. There was little of the crazed entertainment that the reverse fixture had produced, this game a slow-burning, controlled affair instead.

Edu Garcia put BFC ahead in the first half before Dimas Delgado sealed a fifth straight win with a second eight minutes from time. There can be little arguing that BFC, with an eight-point lead at the top of the table, is the best team in the league at the moment. Goa, on the other hand finds itself in sixth place, two points off the top four.

MATCH CENTRE

With an eye on an important AFC Cup qualifying play-off in four days' time, Albert Roca made six changes to the side that started against Chennaiyin on Tuesday. One change was forced, however: top-scorer Miku was left out of the squad to help him recover from a 'muscle overload'. Thongkhosiem Haokip instead making his first ISL appearance for BFC.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was forced into making a couple of acrobatic saves from Ferran Corominas and Manvir Singh in the opening minutes but had little else to do in the first half. BFC dominated possession, even if it seemed to amount to nothing. Its full-backs were not particularly adventurous and there were few crosses from out wide while Sunil Chhetri, stuck on the left, struggled to impose himself on the game. He cut inside occasionally, doing his best to stay involved, but Goa appeared resolute.

 

It took a corner to break the deadlock, 10 minutes from the interval. Antonio Dovale delivered a beautiful, in-swinging ball from the flag and Garcia rose high to send a looping header into the net. Goa captain Bruno Pinheiro was at the far post, leaping in desperation, but the ball sailed over his head. T. Haokip had an opportunity to double the advantage before the break, but he failed to beat the goalkeeper.

The second half was predictably more open, with the play more stretched and chances at both ends. Gurpreet was kept busy, the tall 'keeper delivering a solid performance in goal. Boithang Haokip came on for Thongkhosiem Haokip soon after the hour mark, enabling Chhetri to move into the middle.

BFC kept pushing for a second goal and it was Delgado who struck, beating the offside trap to score from close range. Garcia made a darting run down the inside-left channel, beating two men, before B. Haokip slipped Delgado through with a glancing, deflected header and the Spaniard made no mistake.

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