By Rajarshi Chakrabarty
Bengaluru FC managed to steal a scrappy 1-0 win over New Radiant SC (Maldives) in their AFC Cup Group E encounter at Sree Kanteerava Stadium with a late goal from Nishu Kumar (90+1’).
The visiting sides dominated the game in terms of possession as Bengaluru FC rested a few of their first-team regulars due to their crucial Super Cup quarter-final game against NEROCA FC in few days’ time.
Sunil Chhetri was kept out of the playing XI as Thongkosiem Haokip paired with Daniel Segovia upfront in Albert Roca’s 3-5-2 formation.
Haokip had a chance early in the 15-minute mark as goalkeeper Imran Mohammed came off his line to clear a long ball but his failed clearance fell to Haokip. Haokip took a shot on the goal but Haroon Amiri’s goal line headed clearance saved the goalkeepers blushes.
Haokip was again involved as he intercepted a defensive square pass and played it to Daniel Segovia in a quick turn of attack, but the striker could not take his shot early and was swarmed by Radiant SC defenders to avert any further danger.
Bengaluru FC Coach Albert Roca made three tactical changes in the second half bringing in Subhash Bose, Victor Perez, and Sunil Chhetri.
The move finally played off in the first minute of extra time, as New Radiant SC playing a high line were caught on the break as Sunil Chhetri managed to break away with a solo run into the Radiant SC half and laid it off for Nishu Kumar advancing from the left back, who had a simple tap-in to make it 1-0.
With this win, Bengaluru FC sits on top of Group E with nine points as they face the same opponent at an away game on 25th April at the National Stadium, Male.