Margao: I-League winners Bengaluru FC made a perfect start to their Durand Cup campaign as they defeated defending champions Mohammedan Sporting 2-1 in the opening match of Pool C quarter-final league here on Thursday.
Bengaluru, who led 2-0 at half time, scored through Sunil Chhetri (6th minute) and Evgeneson Lyngdoh (38th). Mohammedan Sporting pulled one back through Alfred Jayran in the 66th minute.
Bengaluru FC, who had the lion share of exchanges, created several chances and could have won by bigger margin had it not been for rival keeper Arnab Das Sharma, who brought off good saves to deny Evgeneson Lyngdoh, substitutes Sean Rooney and CK Vineeth.
Bengaluru, who played three friendlies in China during their pre-season training, dominated the first half and held the midfield superiority. They shot into the lead when Chhetri intercepted a wrong back pass from defender Gaur Naskar, before beating Das Sharma from close.
They continued to attack the rival box and could have doubled the lead had Robin Singh directed his shot on target. Once his header was also saved by defender Irfan Khan on the goal line.
Bengaluru, after these close misses, increased the lead in the 38th minute when a move from the middle by Chhetri saw him relay the ball to Thoi Singh on the right, who sent a cross into the box for Lyngdoh to volley in into the far corner of the net.
Changing over, they continued to miss chances with substitute K Udanta Singh twice failing to score as he first shot out and then the rival keeper made a diving save. Mohammedan Sporting, who failed to get a clear look at the rival goal in the first half, came with occasional forays in the second half and pulled one back when substitute Bijay Maddi laid a pass to Alfred Jayran on top of the box. Jayran got the better of a rival player and produced a shot that hit the post and went in.