Air Force Club have had more possession for the entirety of the match but Bengaluru looked like they were out of the game only after conceding. Bengaluru were playing according to their strengths by blocking their opponents and hitting them on the counter.
But the Air Force club frontline, inspired by a brilliant Amjad Radhi, finally found the breakthrough. the tournament’s top scorer Ahmed Hammadi was in target once again. Bengaluru players looked dejected at the end of the incredible 8 minutes of extra time, but no one can deny that they have come a long way for a club that was formed only three years ago.
This is it. Seldom has an I-League club played a match of this size. Bengaluru FC’s short history has been filled in superlatives. Former manager Ashley Westwood is in the gantry this time watching his former team take on Air Force Club.
Both clubs deserve credit for their own rights. Both are stand out clubs in their respective countries. While Bengaluru FC are easily one of the most well managed clubs in India, it is incredible how Air Force Club, also known by their Arabic name Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya have doen well to wall themselves off the chaos that has eclipsed almost all walks of life in Iraq in recent years.
Captain Sunil Chettri has been playing for a long time, even being part of a Kansas City side that played Manchester United at Old Trafford. He said that this is the biggest match of his life. He has defied his age to keep leading Bengaluru FC with brilliant performances. He also said that they are going to give their everything no matter who is on the opposition.
India will be rooting for Bengaluru in at a time when the ISL has drastically increased viewership for domestic football in the country. They have already made history by reaching so far and are now eyeing to go one step further and bring the trophy home.
10′ gone Air Force 0-0 Bengaluru FC
A composed start from both teams. While Air Force have put the pressure on Bengaluru early on and they are doing most of the attacking. India’s attackers have only rarely got a touch of the ball while goalkeeper Ralte has had plenty.
15′ gone Air Force 0-0 Bengaluru FC
Bengaluru are looking to play on the break. While Air Force still have more possession, Bengaluru are defending well and are putting the oppostion under pressure on the counter. Air Force have fallen away a little bit after a bright start to the game.
20′ gone Air force 0-0 Bengaluru FC
It is fair to note that the bulk of the rather scanty crowd at the stadium in Doha is for Bengaluru FC. Bengaluru are playing to their strengths, letting the opposition hogg possession, maintain a disciplined defence and hitting on the counter.So far, no team has been able to get a goal out of the the game.
25′ gone Air Force 0-0 Bengaluru FC
Early substitution for Air Force as Humam Tareq picks up an injury is forced out. Tareq has been one of Air Force’s most creative player and we’ll see if this really will be a blow for the Iraqi club. So far, Bengaluru FC have matched their opponents in almost every way.
35′ gone Air Force 0-0 Bengaluru FC
Air Force still may have more possession but they are looking frustrated. Bengaluru FC have hassled them with their determined defending and quick counter attacks. Sunil Cheyttri had a good cahnce to put his side in front when a cross came into the Air Force box. Chettri couldn’t reach it and ended up heading it wide.
40′ gone Air Force 0-0 Bengaluru FC
Air Froce finally seemed to have broken the Bengaluru defence. Radhi charged into the box from the left and passed the ball inside. Bengaluru goalkeeper Ralte did well to intercept.
HALF TIME! Air Force 0-0 Bengaluru FC
Air Force have looked drained and famished. Full back Ahmed Hammadi went down a few minjutes before the half way mark to be stretchered off. They have been one of the highest scoring sides in the cup so far and it is understandable if they are frustrated for not benig able to go in front in the first half.
Bengaluru, on the other hand, are happy to sit back and absorb the Air Fiorce attacks and try hit them on the counter. The tactic has not produced a goal yet but the Indian side will certainly be the happier of the two sides. It doesn’t look like there would be too many goals in this one.
50′ gone, Air Force Club 0-0 Bengaluru FC
Air Force club had the best chance of the match thus far when Amjad Radhi took down the ball with a lovely touch in the box and got a way from the Bengaluru defender. He couldn’t keep the shot down and he had his head in his hands.
55′ gone Air Force Club 0-0 Bengaluru FC
A free kick taken quickly was received by Sunil Chettri in the box. The Bengaluru skipper passed the ball out but the shot was blocked by the Air Force defence.
65′ gone Air Force Club 0-0 Bengaluru FC
Ralte had to pull of a brilliant save to keep out a header from Suad. It is still the same drill so far, with Air Force holding possession and Bengaluru pushing them on the counter. Bengalur’s defense line led by John Johnson have put up an outstanding display so far.
GOAL! Air Force Club 1-0 Bengaluru FC (69′ Hammadi)
Air Force finally break the Bengaluru defence. Hammadi didn’t make a mistake Amjad eadhi did well to cut past the defenders to get into the box. Hammadi has now scored his 16th goal of the tournament, the Iraqi side on the ascendancy.
74′ gone Air Force Club 1-0 Bengaluru FC
Air Force are now dominating the game. Amjad Radhi, who is playing havoc with his passes and dribbles alike, almost had a chance to double Air force’s lead but he was offside. Amja Radhi had another brilliant chance when he tried to curl the ball into the top right corner.
80′ gone Air Force Club 1-0 Bengaluru FC
The man of the match in this second half has to be Air force Club’s Amjad Radhi, who has led the Iraqi side’s attacks that seems to have subdued Bengaluru’s spirits at the moment. The confidence that the I-League club was exuding seems to have dipped and the counter attacks have dried up. Air Force’s Khadim ran into the box from the right and squared up shot that was cleared away.
88′ gone Air Force Club 1-0 Bengaluru FC
CK Vineeth had a golden opportunity in every sense of the phrase. It was a lovely ball in and CK Vineeth was completely unmarked. he swung at ti and missed completely. Bengaluru be wondering how that went on for a goal kick.
FULL TIME!! Air Force Club 1-0 Bengaluru FC
Air Force Club have become the first Iraqi club to win the AFC Cup. nearly ten minutes of extra time were played but Bengaluru weren’t able to do anything with the chink of extra time.
The quality of the game deteriorated towards the end with lots of players flying into challenges. In the end Air Force were able to keep their composure and saw it through.
It has been a glorious journey for both teams and in the end it was only one goal that remains the difference. Disappointment for Bengaluru FC but some good news for the country of Iraq amongst all the chaos.