Bengaluru FC are the new champions of the Indian Super League (ISL) after winning the fifth edition of the competition by defeating FC Goa in the final played at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai, on Sunday evening.The winner came off the head of Rahul Bheke who directed in a Dimas Delgado flag-kick in the second half of extra time after both teams weren't able to breach the opponent's goal in regulation time. FC Goa were reduced to 10 men when Ahmed Jahouh picked his second booking in the first half of extra time.
The Blues, in just their second season in the competition, have won their first title after losing the final battle held at Bengaluru against Chennaiyin FC 3-2 in the previous season.
Carles Cuadrat led his men into a berth in the play-offs as league leaders (34 points) for the second consecutive season. In the semi-finals, Bengaluru overturned a 2-1 defeat in Guwahati to oust a depleted NorthEast United with a 3-0 win in the return leg.
In the two occasions the finalists met in the league stage, the JSW-owned side had emerged victorious on both counts. They defeated Goa 2-1 in their away clash that resulted in both teams walking out of the pitch with 10 men each. In Bengaluru, despite losing Nishu Kumar in a goalless first half, the hosts pumped in three goals against their counterparts.
Bengaluru FC faced four defeats in the league stage, three of which came after they had already qualified for the semi-finals with Cuadrat chosing to give his bench a few opportunities. Meanwhile, during Miku's absence on account of injury, Sunil Chhetri played a vital role among the team's key players that also involves Dimas Delgado's contributions in midfield and Gurpreet Singh in goal while Udanta Singh had a stellar season on the right wing.
With this championship, two-time I-League champions have maintained their record of a landing piece of silverware in each of their seasons since the club was founded in 2013. They have won the I-League and Federation Cup twice before joining the ISL bandwagon where they won the inaugural edition of the Indian Super Cup.