Bengaluru FC Wins Maiden ISL Title With a 1-0 Win Over FC Goa

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Bengaluru FC was undone by two set-piece goals in the 2018 Indian Super League final. On Sunday as well, it was also a set piece that was decisive for the team. However, this time, it worked in their favour as the Bengaluru FC recorded their maiden ISL title.

It took a whole 120 minutes to separate the two sides. However, it was the Carles Cuadrat’s team who prevailed, edging past Goa FC by a 1-0 win at the Mumbai Football Arena here.

Centre-back Rahul Bheke was the hero of the night for the last year’s runner-ups. His super header in the 117th minute broke the deadlock for BFC as unfortunate FC Goa were inflicted with the second ISL final loss.

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First Half

As had been touted before the game, the two teams were inseparable right from the opening whistle. In fact, in the opening half, neither teams could manage a single go at the target.

Of the two, it was Bengaluru defence that was more sound at the back. Building on the same, the Blue Army used the flanks to utmost efficiency, with an ever impressive Udanta Singh exploiting the right, whereas Miku marshalled the forward line.

In a significant chance for Bengaluru, Captain Sunil Chhetri exchanged a well-taken one-two with Nishu Kumar to release Miku down the centre. The Venezuelan dribbled past three defenders, Carlos Pena, Serotonin Fernandes, and Mourtada Fall, only to lose out the ball to keeper Naveen Kumar.

The forward’s next opportunity arose a few minutes short of the half-hour mark. Udanta made an enterprising run into the box and had a go. However, the ball landed in the path of Miku in the box. The Venezuelan tricked Kumar and registered a rabona cross towards Fall who could only head it wide.

On the other hand, FC Goa utilized long diagonal balls to the release pacy forward Jackichand Singh. Singh, to his credit, did whip many teasing crosses to Ferran Corominas. However, the latter could do anything but finish well- a fitting display of the team’s frustrating first half.

Second Half

The second half was relatively more entertaining with both Alejandro Barrera and Ahmed Jahouh eliciting individual bookings in the first five minutes.

Edu Bedia then had a glorious chance in the 61st minute after Brandon Fernandes had registered a brilliant lob. The Spanish forward just had to beat the ‘keeper. However, he could not even make contact with the ball. A few minutes later, Jahouh had an attempt at the goal only for Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to make a save.

The consistent Bengaluru FC attack almost yielded a goal in the 81st minute through Miku. The forward capitalized on a defensive lapse by the Goan team and poked the ball past the custodian. However, he was unfortunately denied by the post.

Miku then almost made amends for the miss with another attempt in the last minute of added time. However, Fall cut him out with a stunning leap to extend the game by another 30 minutes.

Extra Time

Both the teams played cautiously in the first half of additional time. However, FC Goa received a big blow to their title chances as in the last minute with Jahouh receiving the marching orders.

The player had seemed to kick Miku while going to ground, thus receiving his second yellow card.

The card would go on to cost Goa the title, with the sucker punch coming in the penultimate time.

Dimas Delgado delivered a curled cross from the corner into the box. Bheke then perfectly timed his run to divert the ball past a flying Naveen with a powerful header.

The goal was enough to put the Men in Blue as well as the travelling Bengaluru fans broke into raucous celebrations with the referee blowing the final whistle moments later.

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