AFC Cup 2018: Bengaluru keep knockout hopes alive with a thumping win over Aizawl
It was goals' galore at the Kanteerava Stadium, as Bengaluru FC thrashed old foes Aizawl FC 5-0 to keep knockout hopes alive...

Bengaluru FC beat Aizawl FC 5-0 in their penultimate match of Group E in the AFC Cup to keep their qualification hopes alive. Goals each from Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Daniel Lalhimpuia and a brace from Daniel Segovia helped Bengaluru rout Aizawl at the Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday.

In a must-win tie, Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca made two changes in the starting lineup which went down 0-2 against New Radiant last week. Lenny Rodrigues and Semboi Haokip made way for Boithang Haokip and Daniel Segovia.

Bengaluru had it easy against the former I-League champions right from the word go and could have taken the lead within the first 10 minutes of the match had their attackers been a little more clinical in front of goal.

Boithang missed the first major chance when he failed to convert a free header from Udanta’s cross. The second chance was squandered by Segovia who received a ball from Udanta inside the box and was one-on-one with Aizawl custodian Lalawmpuia but the Spaniard hit the ball wide from close-range.

Sunil Chhetri earned a penalty in the 15th minute after he was brought down by Lalawmpuia. The skipper received a cross from the right flank and went past the Aizawl goalkeeper who in desperation brought down the striker. The captain himself took the spot-kick and put his team in front.

Segovia doubled the lead within a minute. Sloppy defending by Aizawl players saw Erik Paartalu win the ball in midfield and he forwarded a through ball for the Bengaluru FC striker. Segovia received the ball inside the box, kept his calm and found the back of the net.

The ISL side scored one more at the half-hour mark when Chhetri ran down the left flank beating his marker for pace and entering the box. He found Udanta in front of the goal and squared the ball to him. The right winger tapped the ball into the net.

Aizawl FC looked helpless and clueless in front of Roca’s side. Santosh Kashyap’s idea of playing a defensive high line was a complete disaster. Their counter-attacks also lacked the sting as they failed to trouble Bengaluru defenders.

Their only chance came in the 40th minute when Alfred Jaryan attempted a header from Leonce Dodoz’s cross from the right flank but the ball flew above the crossbar without troubling Lalthuammawia Ralte.

AFC Cup 2018 Bengaluru FC Aizawl FC

Segovia scored his second goal of the night in the 62nd minute of the match with an inch-perfect header from Subashish Bose’s cross. The left-back curled cross inside the box and the Spanish striker converted the header unchallenged. Lalrosanga was in charge of marking the forward inside the box and the Aizawl defender completely failed on that occasion.

Bengaluru continued to dominate proceedings after scoring the fourth goal as Aizawl completely parked the bus in front of their goal. From a 3-5-2, Kashyap changed the formation and went with a five-man backline to ensure that they did not concede any more.

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Substitute Daniel Lalhimpuia, who had replaced Boithang Haokip, scored the final goal of the match in the 89th minute. Chhetri received a pass inside the box and beat his marker with crafty footwork and squared it for Daniel who just had to tap the ball in.

Bengaluru FC next face Abahani Dhaka Limited on May 16 in their final group match. On the same day and time, New Radiant will meet Aizawl. The Blues need to win their final match and hope that Aizawl will do them a favour by snatching at least a point from the Maldivian club.

Earlier today, New Radiant had defeated Abahani Dhaka 5-1 at their home ground to remain at the top of Group E.

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