FULL TIME: Air Force Club (Hammadi Ahmed 71') 1-0 Bengaluru FC
In perpetual war mode, Iraq needed some good news and it came from their Air Force football club. A deserving win for them, against a moody side from India. Bengaluru FC could have done much better with some discipline on ball. Still a commendable effort from the three-year club.
ALSO READ: MATCH REPORT
Only goal of the match came from expected quarters, from tournament's leading scorer Hammadi Ahmed, who showed top class to finish a good move which involved a a tireless Amjed Radhi, in the 71st minute.
SECOND-HALF: AIR FORCE CLUB 1 - 0 BENGALURU FC
90+8'- Not much of football action as Air Force players continued with their delaying tactics. But this time, Fahad Talib found himself booked for the same. And BFC got probably got their last move of the gave, and the Air Force goalie produced a timely jump to the delight of his team-mates.
Play continued into the 8th minute and, John Johnson, from inside the box, had a go. And the long whistle came to Air Force's celebration.
90+2'- And time wasting continued from the Iraqi side. They have been the better side but that's bad sportsmanship from Air Force.
And another good chance for BFC went down. John Johnson, with his imposing presence, tried to dominate the box fight. He even claimed for penalty. But to no avail.
90'- Words of caution from the referee to Sunil Chhetri for the skipper's foul to Saeed. Change for Air Force, Ali Ghalioum on for Amjed Radhi. Five minutes added.
88'- Dying minutes in Doha, and Indian hopes are dying. John Johnson got a nasty tackle from Mohsin Emad. Suad Naji just escaped with a nasty tackle on Udanta. Free kick to BFC.
From the set-play, Vineet missed the chance of a lifetime. He was on his own and he missed the volley.
84'- Air Force players continue to test the Indian defence, and it seemed, no hurry from BFC in pressing ahead on the odd chances that came their way.
82'- Under 10 minutes to play and Albert Roca has got a lot to complain about. Not happy with his players' movement. After few passing around, BFC lost possession trying to find Sunil Chhetri in the centre.
Fresh legs for the Indian side. Alvaro Rubio out, in Ranjan Salam.
79'- Lalthuammawia Ralte once again produced a save. Moments ago, John Johnson's cross forced Fahad Talib to a diving save.
77'- Then, Alvaro Rubio lost the possession in front of the Air Force box. From the counter, Amjed Radhi tried a curler, but missed the target.
75'- Vineet lost the possession in the centre, Childish play from the forward. And as a result, Air Force created another chance with Hammadi Ahmed inside the box. Luckily, BFC survived.
72'- BFC, with less than 20 minutes into the regulation time whistle, lost the ball inside their own half, and another goal. But it was from a off-side possession.
70'- Another corner for BFC. Eugenesson Lyndoh's delivery was however cleared away despite John Johnson's desperate attempt to win the ball inside Air Force box.
On the counter, the Iraqi side kept the ball for in possession for some time. But a off-side call came.
GOAL!! Then, Hammadi Ahmed scored from a brilliant play from Air Force. His 16th goal of the tournament.
67'- BFC certainly growing in confidence. Udanta got the first touch then, released it for Cameron Watson. Then a corner for the Indian outfit. No foul, the tussle was soft.
A good corner, and Sunil Chhetri produced a brilliant volley. the goal-bound ball was however blocked.
64'- On the counter, Sunil Chhetri miss-hit a cross, wasting a chance. Then, Air Force started their own attack. BFC did well to thwart the latest of move.
And double change for BFC. Kumam Udanta on for Alwyn George and Seminlen Doungel on for Nishu Kumar
61'- Hour's play over, but no goal so far. From a free-kick, Air Force managed to win another corner.
From the flag kick, John Johnson touched the ball last as it went out of play. Fine catch at the end by Lalthuammawia Ralte to deny a header from point blank.
55'- On counter, Air Force almost, almost found the first goal with Radhi Amjed going for a long ranger. Ball just missed the left post.
53'- Hammadi Ahmed, already with 15 goals, had a go at BFC goal, but wasted. Nishu's having a horror game.
First he lost possession allowing Ahmed to take that shot, then moments later, he failed to in the midfield.
Then, out of nowhere, BFC got their best chance of the match with Sunil Chhetri controlling with his chest before hitting...a defender blocked his attempt.
50'- Vineeth once again involved in a tussle, this time, he missed. Throw in to Air Force, and from the restart, Air Force players got themselves into a good position.
And Radhi Amjed produced a cracking shot, but just missed the target.
48'- Nishu Kumar, who had a quiet first half, got a good block. Then, naughty from Zahir Al Medani to have a body block on Vineeth. Both players on the ground.
46'- BFC resumed the proceedings from the centre, and won a throw in inside the Air Force half, on the left flank. Air Force cleared the ball, and John Johnson climbed over an opponent. Free kick conceded.
FIRST-HALF: AIR FORCE CLUB 0 - 0 BENGALURU FC
First-half certainly belonged to the Iraqi side, but most importantly, for BFC, the scoreboard remained blank. Air Force had 56% possession and had three goal attempts, with one on target as against BFC's nil. Eugenesson Lyndoh, however, had a couple of chances but not good enough to call attempts.
As expected goalie Lalthuammawia Ralte and defender John Johnson had tough first-half plays. Skipper Sunil Chhetri was just about cool, doing few runs, and good pass. Nothing more.
45+3'- BFC just survived a poor defenisve work, mainly thanks to a poor execution from the Iraqi side. And both sides go to break with BFC surely happy, lucky, not to concede a goal.
45'- Three minutes added into an extremely tense but poor game of football.
44'- Sameh Saeed grounded, literally. Medical attention required for the Air Force player, even as Albert Roca spent good time explaining few tactics to his BFC players.
42'- Lalthuammawia Ralte forced to produced a series of brilliant saves as BFC out-field players lost their cool. A corner to Air Force, and Vineet cleared away the loose ball with a wild kick. Another corner, then Alwyn George wasted a good chance to create a move. His touched was poor.
39'- Scary moment for BFC goalie, who deliberately spent some time on the ball even as Air Force poachers lurked around him.
37'- Another free-kick to Air Force as John Johnson committed a late lunge. The Iraqi side opted to pull back. After a few rolling, they launched an attack. Easy take at the end for Lalthuammawia Ralte.
34'- A sliding tackle from Sunil Chhetri to Ahmed Abdulameer Khadim at the centre, and free-kick to Air Force. From the following play, Hammadi Ahmed found a clear header and he missed the target.
31'- Air Force won a throw in then Mohsin Emad tried to control the ball near the near corner, but his efforts ended up with BFC winning a goal-kick.
Eugenesson Lyndoh vying for a header, landed on one leg, but no concern for him.
29'- Once again, another header from John Johnson to thwart Air Force attack from the left. On the counter, Alwyn George got a loose ball in the attacking final third. His cross, however, was far off the target.
26'- Sub for Air Force. Humam Tareq off, Osama Ali in.
25'- First real chance for the Indian outfit. Sunil Chhetri collected the ball from inside the BFC half, then the skipper sent a teasing delivery which landed just in front of the opposite goal, but there, a flying Eugenesson Lyndoh failed to control the ball.
22'- A series of attacks from Air Force but Bengaluru defenders have done just enough to keep the scoreboard blank. Just a while ago, Mohsin Emad found himself with a good chance to beat Lalthuammawia Ralte, but his shot swerved away, missing the target.
18'- Air Force enjoying the possession even as BFC looked for counters. Skipper Sunil Chhetri produced a mazy run in the centre, and tried to link up with a forward. Then, moments later the skipper was bamboozled by a trick of Mohsin Emad. He is lucky not to be booked.
16'- BFC won back-to-back throw-ins inside the Air Force half, on the left flank, but failed to create any meaningful move , and suddenly, were caught in defensive on counter. Hammadi Ahmed was a step or two shy from taking a shot.
14'- A good period of play for BFC. But still, the moment they press ahead, the lose the plot, giving the ball away rather easily.
12'- First real play from the India side, changing the flanks comfortably, and a cross from the right side almost caught the Air Force defence off guard. But Chhetri's jump failed to connect.
7'- First corner of the match to Air Force Club. BFC somehow managed to thwart the attack, but soon, it's the Iraqi side taking control again. Sunil Chhetri is playing the role of an invincible man.
3'- Frenetic start the match but the Iraqi side got the first attempt. Good defence from the India side though.
Minutes into the kick-off, and here's one final look at the teams
Bengaluru FC XI: 28. Lalthuammawia Ralte, 30. Rino, 2. Juanan, 6. John Johnson, 22. Nishu Kumar, 9. Alvaro Rubio, 26. Cameron Watson, 11. Sunil Chhetri, 20. Alwyn George, 14. Eugenesson Lyndoh, 31. CK Vineeth
BFC Subs: 5. Keagan Pereira, 17. Seiminlen Doungel, 21. Kumam Udanta, 24. Ranjan Salam, 25. Daniel Lalhlimpuia, 30. Sawmtea Malsawmzuala, Abhishek Calvin.
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya XI: Fahad, Al Ali-Saadi, Saad, Sameh Saeed, Emad Majeed; Humam Tareq, Ahmed Kadhim, Ali Fadhil, Zaher Almedani; Hammadi Ahmad, Amjad Radhi
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya Subs: Osama, Ghalioum, Mohammed Hasan, Mohammed Taher, Ahmed Abdulridha, Saif Abbood and Amjed Jabbar
Team sheets are out
— AFC Cup (@AFCCup) November 5, 2016
— Bengaluru FC (@bengalurufc) November 5, 2016
— Bengaluru FC (@bengalurufc) November 5, 2016
— Bengaluru FC (@bengalurufc) November 5, 2016
Match will be shown exclusively on the Star Sports network, but for those who want to watch in pubs, it's available at Bangalore, Pune, Colva Beach, Mumbai and Mangalore.
Here are the details:
Bangalore: The Open Box (St. Mark's Road, Ashok Nagar)
Pune: Aufside at Hotfut (Kumar Pacific Mall)
Goa: Acacia Palms Resort, Colva (Colva Beach)
Mumbai: 3 Wise Monkeys (in Khar and Vashi)
Mangalore: London Street (City Centre Mall, Hampankatta)
In the AFC Champions League, the final will be played between South Korean giants Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and United Arab Emirates' Al-Ain. Unlike the AFC Cup, the final for Champions League will be a two-legged affair, first on November 19 at Jeonju, then the return leg on November 26 at Al Ain.
Winners of Champions League will get to play in the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.
BTW, Indian hockey eves just won their maiden Asian Champions Trophy title, after 2-1 win over China. A hockey double for India. Men's team beat Pakistan to claim their second title on Diwali day.
One fun fact for India fans... last four finals have been won by the away team, and today, Bengaluru are playing as away team. But strangely, Air Force Club hasn't played a single game at their home, thanks to the never ending strife in Iraq. Indeed, a bid occasion for both the side to mark their presence in Asia.
Form guide: No defeats in last five matches for Bengaluru; for Air Force, it's 8 games.
— Arda Turan (@ArdaTuran) November 5, 2016
It's indeed a miracle for a club, no less Indian, to be able to fight for a continental title within the first three years of its existence. The Bengaluru-based outfit, one of the best managed clubs in India, is the reigning national champions, its second, and third top-three finish.
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) November 5, 2016
Last year, Bengaluru reached the Round 16 of AFC Cup.
— Bengaluru FC (@bengalurufc) November 5, 2016
In contrast, Air Force Club side is one of the oldest outfits in Iraq, and carries a reputation of being a hard-team to beat. In its more than 90 years of existence, Air Force has won Iraqi league five times.
And good wishes pouring in for Bengaluru
— Rohan Bopanna (@rohanbopanna) November 5, 2016
— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) November 5, 2016
Big day for Indian sports as @bengalurufc tries to make history!! All the best boys!! We will all be watching and cheering from home!
— Somdev Devvarman (@SomdevD) November 5, 2016
— rinoanto13 (@rinoanto) November 5, 2016
— Iain Hume (@Humey_7) November 5, 2016
ROAD TO FINALS
Top Scorer: Sunil Chhetri, 5 goals
Group H MD1: Lao Toyota FC 2-1 JSW Bengaluru FC
Group H MD2: JSW Bengaluru FC 0-1 Johor Darul Ta’zim
Group H MD3: Ayeyawady United 0-1 JSW Bengaluru FC
Group H MD4: JSW Bengaluru FC 5-3 Ayeyawady United
Group H MD5: JSW Bengaluru FC 2-1 Lao Toyota FC
Group H MD6: Johor Darul Ta’zim 3-0 JSW Bengaluru FC
Round of 16: Kitchee 2-3 JSW Bengaluru FC
QF 1st Leg: JSW Bengaluru FC 1-0 Tampines Rovers
QF 2nd Leg: Tampines Rovers 0-0 JSW Bengaluru FC (0-1 agg.)
SF 1st Leg: Johor Darul Ta’zim 1-1 JSW Bengaluru FC
SF 2nd Leg: JSW Bengaluru FC 3-1 Johor Darul Ta’zim (4-2 agg.)
Air Force Club:
Top scorer: Hammadi Ahmed Abdullah, 15 goals
Group C MD1: Al Dharia 0-2 Air Force Club
Group C MD2: Air Force Club 2-1 Al Orouba
Group C MD3: Al Wahda 5-2 Air Force Club
Group C MD4: Air Force Club 1-0 Al Wahda
Group C MD5: Air Force Club 4-1 Al Dharia
Group C MD6: Al Orouba 0-4 Air Force Club
Round of 16: Air Force Club 2-1 Al Wehdat
QF 1st Leg: Air Force Club 1-1 Al Jaish
QF 2nd Leg: Al Jaish 0-4 Air Force Club (1-5 agg.)
SF 1st Leg: Air Force Club 1-1 Al Ahed FC
SF 2nd Leg: Al Ahed FC 2-3 Air Force Club (3-4 agg.)
Ahead of the final, Bengaluru skipper Chhetri said that there should be "no turning back" for Indian football. And if they manage to win the title, there will financial windfall too. A whopping USD 1 million.
New Delhi: History beckons for Indian football as a Sunil Chhetri-inspired Bengaluru FC take on Iraqi giants Iraq Air Force Club for the continental title.
No other Indian club has ever won a final, in fact, made the title round at this level. Dempo in 2008 and East Bengal in 2013 have reached the AFC Cup semi-finals even as the "sleeping giants" failed to wake up.
India last won a continental title at the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games under Chuni Goswami's leadership.
But it all can change today as Bengaluru FC take on Iraq Air Force Club for the AFC Cup title, Asian equivalent of UEFA Europa League.
Here's everything you need to know about the final of AFC Cup final between Bengaluru FC vs Iraq Air Force Club:
Date: November 5, Saturday
Time: 9:30 PM IST
Venue: Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha, Qatar
TV Listing: Star Sports 1
Live Streaming: Hotstar
Air Force Club
1. Fahad Talib, 36. Ali Bahjat, 46. Zahir Al Medani, 40. Amjed Radhi, 13. Bashar Resan, 3. Ali Al Saadi, 6. Sameh Saeed, 10. Hammadi Ahmed, 11. Humam Tareq, 30. Hamid Mido, 2. Samal Saeedi, 44. Amjed Raheem, 22. Hasanain Jabber, 17. Ahmed Abdulameer Khadim, 38. Halkor Mulla, 15. Osama Ali, 9. Mohsin Emad
Coach: Basim Qasim
1. Amrinder Singh, 26. Cameron Watson, 11. Sunil Chhetri, 9. Alvaro Rubio, 6. John Johnson, 2. Juanan, 20. Alwyn George, 30. Rino, 14. Eugenesson Lyndoh, 31. Vineeth, 22. Nishu Kumar, 28. Lalthuammawia Ralte, 24. Ranjan Salam, 5. Keagan Pereira, 15. Vishal Kumar, 30. Sawmtea Malsawmzuala, 25. David Lalhlimpua, 17. Seiminlen Doungel
Coach: Albert Roca