Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the Indian Super League 2018-19 second leg semifinal clash between NorthEast United FC and Bengaluru FC played at Bengaluru's Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
What a fascinating evening it's been at the Kanteerava! After struggling to find the back of the net in the opening half, Bengaluru made a surging comeback to score three goals in the last 20 minutes to win the tie 3-0 and cruise into the final. NorthEast United looked sharp for a majority of the game, but was undone by three moments of brilliance.
Bengaluru will have plenty to time to recover and will keep a close eye on Tuesday's second semifinal between FC Goa and Mumbai City FC. Goa hammered Mumbai City 5-1 in the away leg and will look to continue its impressive run on Monday.
That will be all from us for the evening. Thanks for tuning in and do come back tomorrow for live updates from the FC Goa vs Mumbai City FC clash. Cheers!
90+6' There goes the whistle and Bengaluru FC is through to its second successive Indian Super League final.
90+5' What a tackle that is! Nishu makes an astonishing lunging tackle to prevent Masica from taking a shot and that should be the last play of the evening.
90+2' Scratch that, Chhetri makes it 3-0! He's played through on goal with just the 'keeper to beat and he does extremely well to trick Pawan Kumar and tap the ball into the back of the net. Surely, that has to be the game! What a fantastic last 20 minutes Bengaluru FC has had, wow!
90' Six minutes of added time, ladies and gents, six minutes of added time. Remember, a single goal from NorthEast will see the side get right back into the tie!
87' IT'S 2-0! Udanta wins the ball in his own half and makes a scorching run into the box. He drags the ball a tad too wide, but gets a shot off that manages to clip the crossbar. An onrushing Dimas latches onto the rebound and slots it home to double Bengaluru FC's advantage!
85' We're now down to the last five minutes of the game! Another goal in the offing?
85' There's the second booking of the game: Luis goes into the book for a silly challenge on Robert.
82' Change for Bengaluru: Serran replaces Xisco.
81' What a chance to equalise! A lob finds Grgic in the box, he does really well to get to the ball but his header floats just wide. He should have made it 1-1!
79' How was that not a penalty? Keegan knocks down Udanta in the box and replays suggest that it was a clear penalty. Looks like the ref missed this one!
75' As it stands, Bengaluru will go through if the scoreline remains the same! The aggregate score is 2-2 but the away goal Bengaluru scored in the opening leg will see it advance to the final if the scoreline remains unchanged over the next 15 minutes.
74' This Miku-Udanta combination looked deadly! Miku plays a delightful pass to Udanta, who gets a shot on goal, but Pawan makes a fine low save to deny him.
72' MIKU SCORES! Udanta plays a crisp cross into the box and Miku, after missing three chances in the first half, scores a stunning left-footed attempt to give the home side the lead.
67' JUANAN MISSES A SITTER! Khabra's header goes across goal and Juanan has a great chance, but he can't get his shot on goal. And that will be his last effort of the tie. Luis Lopez comes on for him.
64' Freekick for NEUFC. Triadis is taken down by Bheke and NEUFC earns a freekick at the edge of the box. Triadis has a go at goal, but fails to trouble Gurpeet.
62' What an impact he's had already! Triadis goes on an expedition, runs a good 40 yards with the ball and wins a throw-in in the attacking third.
59' How unfortunate has NorthEast United been in the playoffs! Star attacking options Bartholomew Ogbeche and Rowllin Borges picked up injuries in the first leg and now Gallego is off too! What does Eelco Schattorie do now?
58' Gallego throws his body on the line and its proved to be deterimental. He's taken off in the ambulance and will be replaced by Panagiotis Triadis shortly.
56' Looks like Gallego has injured himself terribly and there's an ambulance in the pitch now!
55' That was dangerous! Miku squeezes his way into the box and is just about to let one rip when Gallego makes a stunning last-ditch tackle to prevent him.
54' Clumsy tackle from Dimas. He tugs at Gallego's jersey and pulls him to the ground. Still no card from the ref though. Interesting.
51' SAVED! Nishu fires an absolute piledriver and Pawan Kumar somehow manages to get enough on it to send the ball out for a corner. That's two sharp saves from Pawan in as many minutes! What a start to the second half.
50' CHANCE! Keegan fails to clear the corner at the far post and Chhetri latches onto it with a first-time strike, but Pawan Kumar makes a fine save.
46' And we're back! No changes made at halftime for either side.
45+2' It remains goalless here at the Kanteerava after the opening 45. Bengaluru has had the majority of chances, with Miku squandering three of them, but has failed to really trouble NEUFC 'keeper Pawan Kumar. NEUFC has looked strong at the back and has had a couple of decent chances, but Gurpeet did well to save both. Who do you think will get on the scoresheet tonight? Do you think Miku will redeem himself with a goal?
45' Bengaluru has another two minutes to find a goal in this opening half.
43' Stunning save from Gurpreet! Mascia wrestles his way past Barrera and unleashes a powerful right-footed drive, but Gurpreet does well to parry it away. That's only the second save Gupreet has had to make all evening.
41' Nishu delivers a looping cross towards Miku in the box, but the striker clatters with NEUFC 'keeper Pawan Kumar and the custodian is on the floor wincing in pain.
39' That's a lovely shoulder to shoulder tussle! Nishu makes his way into the box but is taken out with a strong challenge from Redeem.
37' Chhetri shoves Gallego and that's his third foul of the evening. The Bengaluru skipper has to be careful!
33' Did Miku just pass the ball to the NEUFC 'keeper? He makes a terrific run, dodging and twisting his way past the defence and storms into the box, but his final shot was so meek that it could've been mistaken for a pass!
31' Gallego lets one rip from distance, and that's his first shot of the evening. In Ogbeche's absence, Gallego will shoulder NEUFC's goal-scoring responsibilities tonight.
30' Bengaluru has looked impressive with its clever passing and incisive runs in the opening half hour, but has lacked the desired finishing touch. NorthEast United has remained solid defensively, but it remains to be seen how many more attacks it can thwart away.
26' HOW DID HE MISS THAT? Khabra releases Udanta down the right and the latter races into the box to square it for Miku. The Venezuelan has acres of space and has to simply place it past the 'keeper, but skies his attempt instead. That's two simple goal-scoring chances in three minutes, and Miku's missed both!
24' Ref having to make some strong calls here. Chhetri goes to ground after being on the receiving end from Keegan, but the ref says no foul, much to the agony of the capacity crowd.
23' WHAT A MISS! Nishu plays a stunning cross into the box and Miku gets ahead of his man, but his header floats wide. That was undoubtedly the chance of the game so far.
20' Gallego has been the star of the evening for NEUFC. He's kept the BFC defence on its toes with his scoring runs and wily footwork. More to come from the Uruguayan?
18' Frustration for Chhetri? He catches Redeem's ankle from behind and gives away an unnecessary freekick. He goes on to give Nishu a earful for not charging ahead.
17' First corner of the game for the visiting side. Gallego directs the corner towards the towering Leudo, but nothing comes off it.
14' That's straight out of the training ground. Miku lobs the freekick into the box and its headed away for a corner. Miku's has a mean right foot, and the question begs to be asked: why not go for goal instead?
13' Free-kick for Bengaluru at the edge of the box! Xisco is receives a slight knock but rolls on the floor like he was completely taken out and wins the freekick.
10' What an enthralling opening 10 minutes it's been. Bengaluru has seen more of the ball, boasting 64 percent on possession. NEUFC look fairly solid at the back and will be hungry for that all-important away goal(s).
8' First change for NEUFC! Gallego wins the ball in midfield makes a tearing run down the right flank and plays Mascia through on goal. It's a very tight angle for Mascia and he manages to get a shot off, but Gurpreet's got it covered. End to end action here!
5' The home side wins a freekick around the halfway line and curiously, has four men surrounding it. A tad too far from goal for a dummy, don't you think?
3' Strong start for Bengaluru! Nishu releases Chhetri down the left and the skipper launches a tidy cross into the box, but the defence manages to clear it for a corner.
1' KICK-OFF. The referee from UAE, Hamad Ali Yousef Abdulla Alali, will have a busy night for sure.
7:30 pm: The players are on the pitch and are raring to go! And the countdown begins..
7:20 pm: We're all of 10 minutes away! Stay tuned, this is going to be a cracker of a contest!
7:15 pm: Update: Keegan replaces Robert Lath after the latter suffered an injury during the pre-game training session.
7:10 pm: A bunch of spirited Northeast United fans have made their way to the Kanteerava Stadium to back their side in this crucial encounter.
The local BFC fans aren't too far away!
7:05 pm: Can Eelco Schattorie guide his side to a first final, or will Carles Cuadrat have the last laugh? Have your say here:
7:00 pm: Here's how the two teams are lining up:
BFC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Rahul Bheke, Juanan, Harmanjot Khabra, Nishu Kumar, Dimas Delgado, Xisco Hernandez, Udanta Singh, Alejandro Garcia Barrera, Sunil Chhetri (C), Miku.
NEUFC: Pawan Kumar (GK), Janeiler Rivas, Reagan Singh, Mato Grgic, Robert Lalthlamuana (C), Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Redeem Tlang, Federico Gallego, Lalrempuia Fanai, Jose Leudo, Juan Mascia.
6:50 pm: Bengaluru FC is bidding for its second consecutive final. How did the side make it to the semis? Anirudh Velamuri breaks it down: Off-colour Bengaluru needs to find itself
6:45 pm: Will the home advantage help BFC tonight?
6:30 pm: Redeem Tlang struck his first ISL goal to put NEUFC ahead in the first leg. Can he get on the scoresheet tonight?
6:00 pm: We're back for another evening of fascinating football. Bengaluru FC will be hungry to avenge its 1-2 loss to NorthEast United FC after conceding a penalty in stoppage time in the first leg in Guwahati. However, Carles Cuadrat's men did not return empty handed - they got the crucial away goal. How crucial will Xisco Hernandez's goal prove to be? Can Bengaluru extract a win at home or will NorthEast United, the most successful away team this season, claim its maiden final berth?
NorthEast United FC's injury-time winner in the first leg of the ISL semifinal may have sent the club faithful into raptures, but come Monday, in the return leg at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium against Bengaluru FC (BFC), there is still a job to do. The 2-1 advantage is as wafer-thin as it gets, especially with BFC having scored the crucial away goal.
That NorthEast may not have two of its best players in striker Bartholomew Ogbeche, who has scored 12 goals, and midfielder Rowllin Borges will only make matters difficult. Coach Eelco Schattorie wouldn’t reveal the extent to which the duo had recovered from hamstring injuries sustained in Guwahati, but his counterpart Carlos Cuadrat chose to focus only on his side.
“I am happy we are here with a result which is not so bad,” Cuadrat said on Sunday. “The mood is good. We are training very well and I am sure we can give the fans a night to remember, like the AFC Cup semifinal (2016) and the playoff against Pune last year,” said the Spaniard.
BFC’s form has waxed and waned in the past few weeks, but Cuadrat’s confidence stems from the fact that he has a full squad to choose from. Key midfielder Dimas Delgado appears to have escaped sanction for his alleged role in the post-match fracas after the first leg, with only the two assistant coaches, Gerard Zaragoza of BFC and Shaun Onteng of NorthEast, receiving touchline bans.
“We are one team with some names and completely different with other,” said Cuadrat. “You saw in the second half how NorthEast was without Ogbeche and Borges…they are another team. It is the same for us. When we had a full squad, we have been unbeaten, won six continuous games. So we can win, even if it goes to extra time.”
The visitor can take heart from the first half performance in the opening leg where it dominated the ball. NorthEast also had the stingiest defence in the league phase(18 goals) and has lost just two out of nine games on the road, though one of those was in Bengaluru.
“We are here to win,” declared Schattorie. “It is all or nothing. We have a good away record… the best I think. Most clubs and teams we go to, the support isn't that much that it can shake you. I am not scared. ”
BFC though might have other ideas.
The game will begin at 7:30 pm IST and will be shown on Star Sports and streamed live on Hotstar.
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