Bengaluru keep AFC Cup dream alive

AFC Cup Bengaluru

JSW Bengaluru qualified for the AFC Cup Inter Zone play-off semi-finals as Group E winners after beating Maziya 1-0 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday.

  • Bengaluru 1 Maziya 0
  • Habeeb header hits the post early on
  • Chhetri free-kick breaks deadlock
  • Ashadh misses open goal soon after
  • Bengaluru finish top of Group E

Match Summary

The Green Boys were on top for much of the first half after being pushed back in the early stages of the match in Karnataka, although it remained goalless at the break.

The defining moment arrived 12 minutes into the second half when Blues skipper Sunil Chhetri broke the deadlock with a brilliantly taken free-kick, as they knocked the visitors off the summit in their final group game.

Full Report

The hosts made a bright start as they looked to penetrate down both flanks, but the Maldivian club held firm at the break after dealing with a number of crosses into the box.

The first chance fell to Maziya on five minutes when Abdulla Asadhulla played in Yasfaadh Habeeb, but the midfielder failed to hit the target with a shot that flew wide.

Habeeb was unfortunate not to open the scoring from their next opportunity in the 17th minute as he steered a header against the right post after being picked out once again by Asadhulla.

Habeeb was presented with another chance on 32 minutes after a mix-up between John Johnson and Sandesh Jhingan let him in, but he could not beat Amrinder Singh in the home goal.

Bengaluru then went close for the first time four minutes later as C.K. Vineeth was gifted possession from a defensive mistake, but the winger’s effort went wide as the two teams headed into the break all-square.

The I-League outfit took the game to their opponents after the restart, with Eugeneson Lyngdoh threatening in the opening minute when Chhetri and Vineeth combined to set him up, but the midfielder’s shot lacked the power to beat Matiash Pavel.

They were celebrating the lead 11 minutes later as Juanan won a free-kick just outside the area, and Chhetri stepped up to curl the ball over the wall into the top corner of the net.

Maziya should have been level on 64 minutes when the ball broke to Ali Ashadh a few yards out Asadhulla and Aleksandar Rakic had seen their respective shots blocked, but the midfielder somehow missed with the goal gaping.

There were no further scares for the home team as they held on for the remainder of the second half to leapfrog Maziya into top spot in the group.