Bengaluru FC played FC Ishtiklol Dushanbe in the regional finals of the AFC Cup, the game held in the Hisor Stadium in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
The blues suffered a narrow loss to the hosts, with Ishtiklol carrying a 1-0 advantage into the second leg in Bengaluru.
Blues coach Albert Roca fielded a similar line up to the one against 4.25 FC with Gurpreet Singh at goal playing his third game for the club and yet to concede a goal, the defense was made up of Rahul Bheke and Juanan as the centre backs, Nishu Kumar at LB, and Collin started at RB, the only change to the lineup. The midfield comprised of Paartalu, Delgado and Lenny.
A pacey and dangerous front line consisting of Chhetri, Udanta and Tony Dovale completed the BFC team.
The game was fairly even with both sides cancelling each other’s attacks out, it however changed in the 26th minute when the hosts found the back of the net through an excellent goal courtesy of Barkov whose diving header met an inch perfect cross by Fathullo and beat the diving Gurpreet Singh.
Ishtiklol began to play on the counter and had the better chances of the game, Bengaluru FC have their keeper to thank, making numerous fine saves to keep them in the tie.
Bengaluru’s best chance came in the dying moments of the game, after a wonderful run by Udanta, who looked like the difference maker all evening into the box which led to his cross ricocheting off the defender and fell to Chhetri whose shot was blocked by what appeared to be an outstretched arm, the referee however paid no attention to the blues complaints and blew the final whistle.
Bengaluru FC will hope to turn this game around at home and will rely on the support of their home crowd to inspire them, they aim to reach the AFC Cup finals for the second year in a row.