AFC Champions League: Al Wehdat 2-1 Bengaluru FC - Jordanians progress at the expense of Blues
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The Indian champions struggled to contain the Green Giants as their hopes of progressing further in the Champions League went up in smoke…

Jordan’s Al Wehdat shall face UAE’s Al Wahda in the play-off round in order to book a berth in the group stages of the AFC Champions League. They downed Bengaluru FC, the I-League champions, 2-1 with goals from Ahmad Maher and Baha’ Faisal. Sunil Chhetri did pull one back but the score-line could have been far worse had it not been for the wastefulness of the Wehdat players.

Al Wehdat lined-up in a 4-4-2 formation with Ahmad Maher and Baha’ Faisal leading the line. On the other hand, Albert Roca opted to bench Roby Norales and instead started with Chekiyot Vineeth, Udanta Singh and Sunil Chhetri in a three pronged attack.

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The visitors’ only opportunity, which was a half chance, saw Chhetri leap over Omar Azmi and his header produced an easy save from Tamer Hamed.

Thereafter, it was a case of one way traffic. The home team upped the ante and began to create chances at will. From a free-kick in the 15th minute by Amara, Tareq Zeyad saw his header go over the bar.

Hassan Fattah and Rajaei Fadel had a couple of shots which saw Amrinder being called into action.

Midway into the half, Sena Ralte couldn’t track the run of Amara which saw the latter almost through on goal before Johnson averted the danger by clearing in time.

The Jordanians were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty in the 39th minute. Ralte, who was all over the place, struggled to track the run of Amara. Chhetri pushed Amara on the back inside the box but the referee wasn’t interested.

The home team didn’t have to wait too long as they found the breakthrough minutes after the half-time. Amara’s cross was cleared by Juanan but only as far as the Maher who scored with his second touch.

Sunil Chhetri Bengaluru FC training session at the Al Wehdat Stadium AFC Champions League Qualifier 2

Fattah was allowed to dictate play from the middle of the park with Lenny Rodrigues being ineffective. They struggled to win possession and when they did, couldn’t create any goal scoring opportunities.

Johnson was substituted in the 54th minute for Keegan Pereira, who was making his first competitive debut for Bengaluru under Albert Roca.

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Just before the hour mark, Fattah’s cross from the right saw Khabra napping. Maher’s volleyed effort was parried way for a corner by Amrinder in order to ensure the score stays 1-0.

They doubled their lead when Sena Ralte pushed Faisal in an off the ball incident which saw Baha’ Faisal dispatch the spot-kick though Amrinder guessed it right.

The Blues were handed a lifeline when Chhetri headed home from a Cameron Watson corner as the Jordanian team’s defence failed to mark the striker.

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The best chance for Bengaluru to equalise came in the 82nd minute when Udanta Singh’s cross from the right saw Vineeth slam his effort over the bar from inside the box.

Ahmad Elias ran past two Bengaluru players and his effort was kept out by Amrinder in the 89th minute.

Bengaluru FC shall now play in the AFC Cup Group E where they are placed alongside Maziya (Maldives), Abahani Limited (Bangladesh) and one of the following teams shall complete the cluster – Timpu (Bhutan), Valencia (Maldives)  Mohun Bagan (India) and Colombo (Sri Lanka).

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