Bengaluru FC advanced to the Inter Zone finals of the AFC Cup as they beat North Korean side 4.25 SC 3-0 on aggregate. The two sides played out a 0-0 draw at Pyongyang on Wednesday and that followed the 3-0 win that Bengaluru had when 4.25 SC played last month.
Bengaluru got just a day of training before the match but held fort to ensure a clean sheet. Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu saved a penalty in the 75th minute of the match and was pretty much the hero for Bengaluru. They now face Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol, the 2015 finalists, in the two-legged Inter-Zone Finals. Istiklol had beaten Ceres Negros FC of Philippines on 5-1 aggregate in the other Inter-Zone Semifinals. The away leg will be played on September 27 after which the home leg will be played at Bengaluru on October 18.
The winner of that match will face either Syria’s Al Wahda or Air Force Club of Iraq in the 2017 AFC Cup final on November 4.
Bengaluru scored three goals without any reply in the first meeting between the two sides in Bengaluru on August 23 thanks to Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh and Lenny Rodrigues, but there were no such fireworks at May Day Stadium today with both teams drawing a blank in front of goal.
Head coach Alberto Roca named an unchanged XI from their 3-0 first-leg win in Bengaluru as he persisted with the 4-3-3 formation with Udanta Singh, Sunil Chhetri and Toni Dovale as the front-three.
The North Korean side named their top-scorer in the AFC Cup, Kim Yu-Song, in their starting-lineup after a slight niggle had prevented him starting in the first-leg.
The Jindal Steel Works (JSW) owned outfit dominated the midfield as Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado and Lenny Rodrigues took control of the center of the park from their North Korean counterparts. Only 6,500 spectators came to the watch the match