New Delhi: The AFC Cup semi-final match between Benguluru FC and Johor Darul Ta'zim held a special place in the history of Indian football and the hearts of fans across the country as the Indian club attempted to achieve what no Indian club has achieved previously done.
Eugeneson Lyngdoh’s away goal in the 1-1 first leg draw in Malaysia had given the hosts belief they they are en rout to complete an elusive mission at home - become the first Indian club to reach the final of the competition.
The match started on a disappointing note for Bengaluru after Safiq Rahim had put the visitors in lead after just 11 minutes of play. It was rather an error by goalie Amrinder who got a hand to the shot which was hit straight at him but couldn't stop it but it from crossing the goal-line.
At the 28th minute, BFC missed thrice back-to-back chances to score a goal following a corner with captain Sunil Chhetri missing an open goal.
The hosts had to wait until the 40th minute to draw themselves level after Sunil Chhetri leaped in the air following a corner kick and put his side level with a stunning header. At half time, the score remained 1-1.
It was the 67th minute when Chhetri found himself in some shooting space and powered the ball past the goalkeeper with a glorious strike.
The Malaysian club found themselves trailing by a goal with quarter of an hour's time to go but struggled heavily to create good chances for themselves.
Defender Juanan powered in another header after 75 minutes of play and the game seemed all but done for Bengaluru, who had a 2-goal cushion to rely on.
The later parts of the match saw the Indian side engaged in defending but the visitors continued to struggle in creating useful chances and eventually succumbed to the opposition's determination.
Bengaluru FC hence registered their name in the history of Indian football by becoming the first Indian club to cement a place in the AFC Cup Final. They did what no Indian club has done before. The home side registered an aggregate 4-2 win.
Final score Bengaluru FC 3-1 Johor Darul Takzim.
Indian football legend IM Vijayan also showered praise on Sunil Chhetri for his instrumental performance in earning Bengaluru FC a historic place in the AFC Cup final.
Bengaluru will face Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in the deciding fixture.