Bengaluru’s second string had just enough to see off Bangladeshi side Abahani Dhaka in what was their opening AFC Cup group game of this season. It’s worth nothing that this was the fifteenth consecutive game that they’ve avoided defeat, the longest run in their history by some distance.
Albert Roca chose to make eleven changes from the side that saw off Pune as he didn’t want to risk any knocks prior to the ISL final on Saturday against Chennaiyin. It also shows the level of depth that Bengaluru have that they can field two completely different sides in a week and come away from both games with the win.
Dangerous Dan Is The Difference
A very well-worked move which resulted in Daniel firing home on the half-volley proved to be the difference between the two sides and I’d love to say I’ve got a complex, in-depth match report to go through with you all, but sadly that’s not the case. It wasn’t the greatest of games anyway, so even if there was coverage out there, it’s not like there would be a great deal to write home about.
In a game which yielded three shots on target apiece, it took until the 72nd minute for Bengaluru to break Abahani’s resistance. Alwyn George played the ball to the edge of the penalty-area to Daniel Segovia, who in turn headed it round the corner first time to the onrushing Daniel who finished with aplomb.
Daniel gave the Bangladeshi double-winners a scare in the first half when he had a go from outside the area, however, that went agonisingly wide as the sparse crowd watched on. That’s one thing I don’t get, the crowd was just over 1,000, yet, on Saturday against Chennaiyin, it’ll be 25,000+. Roca must have sent them a memo saying that he’s going to play a weakened team and no-one could be arsed; jokes aside for a second, it does go to show that football still has a long way to go when it comes to winning the people over in India as you wouldn’t for one second imagine that if a domestic cricket side were playing in a continent-wide tournament that the crowd would be as bad as that.
New Radiant Maintain Perfect Start
Nevertheless, they got the three points which is all that matters in the grand scheme of things. Elsewhere, New Radiant saw off I-League side Aizawl in the other group game; the game was finely poised at 1-1 with sixteen minutes left on the clock, but then two yellow cards in quick succession for Lalramhmunmawia meant that Aizawl were reduced to ten men and New Radiant took full advantage of the numerical difference. Ali Ashfaq scored his second and third of the afternoon in the 77th and 85th minute of the game respectively to elevate the Maldivian side to the top of the group with a 100% record.
Next up, New Radiant travel to Bengaluru in what will be an interesting game to watch for a number of reasons. Firstly, Roca’s team selection will be intriguing because all being well Bengaluru will still be in the Super Cup, so will he risk a second string against New Radiant? They’re a completely different prospect to Abahani and I feel the games against them will decide who ultimately wins the group. It’s also fair to say that New Radiant are being completely underestimated by every man and his dog at present and if Ashfaq can maintain his hot streak we may well have a game on our hands.
That’s all I’ve got for you today, however, I am back with a double-header of reports tomorrow as the Super Cup gets underway.
Until the next time.