Bengaluru FC thrashed a listless Aizawl FC 5-0 to keep their AFC Cup knock-out round hopes alive here today.
Daniel Segovia (17th and 62nd minutes) struck twice while captain Sunil Chhetri (16th), Udanta Singh (30th) and Daniel Lalhlimpuia (89th) scored once each in the Group E match at the Kanteerava Stadium.
Bengaluru and New Radiant of Maldives, who comfortably beat Abahani Limited Dhaka 5-1 at home earlier in the day, now have 12 points each with one match left in the group stage. Despite today’s win, Bengaluru are still on a sticky wicket to qualify for the knock-out round. A shock 0-2 defeat to New Radiant in Male last week had meant that Bengaluru’s chances of making the zonal semifinal of the tournament don’t entirely rest in their hands.
Coach Albert Roca’s side will have to beat Abahani in their last group match on May 16 in Dhaka and hope that the Maldivian side do not win against Aizawl FC on the same day in Guwahati.
If both Bengaluru and New Radiant win both their last group matches on May 16 that would leave them square on points but a superior head-to-head record will take the Maldivian side to the knock-out round of the tournament.
The Bengaluru vs Aizawl match began on an even keel in the first 15 minutes with both sides having almost an equal number of tries at the opposition goal.
The third minute saw Aizawl player Leonce Dodoz Zikahi’s right footed shot from just outside the box missing the target narrowly. Two minute later, David Lalrinmuana had a go at the Bengaluru goal but keeper Lalthuammawia Ralte, who made the starting eleven instead of Gurpreet Sandhu, was upto the task.
After that it was the turn of Bengaluru to threaten the Aizawl citadel. Daniel Segovia, Nishu Kumar and Udanta Singh found their efforts miss the targets.
Bengaluru took the lead in the 16th minute with Aizawl goalkeeper Lalawmpuia conceding a penalty after a foul inside the box and Bengaluru captain Chhetri stepped up to cooly slot the ball home to give his side 1-0 up in the match.
Some of the Aizawl players were not even settled down after conceding a goal that Bengaluru scored their second as Daniel Segovia’s right footed shot from the left side of the box beat the goalkeeper to bulge the bottom right corner of the net.
Bengaluru made it 3-0 at the half hour mark with Udanta Singh scoring from a close range off an assist by Chhetri.
The second half also saw Bengaluru dictating the pace of the match and they scored just after the hour mark with Daniel Segovia’s header finding the target.
Just one minute left in the left, Daniel Lalhlimpuia compteted the route with a right footed shot from the centre of the box off an assist from Chhetri.