Bengaluru, March 14: A second-string Bengaluru FC edged Abahani Dhaka 1-0 in their AFC Cup Group E match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday (March 14). Daniel Lalhlimpuia scored the lone goal of the game in the second half to give BFC three points from their opening group match in the continental competition. In the other match of the day, New Radiant Sports Club of Maldives defeated Aizawl FC 3-1 in Male.
Facing Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) final this Saturday (March 17), coach Albert Roca fielded his reserves for the match with goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte captaining the side. Semboi Haokip and Daniel Lalhlimpuia formed the strike force with Victor Perez and Alwyn George playing in the two flanks. Malsawmzuala and Robinson Singh gave cover in the midfield, while Nishu Kumar, Joyner Lourenco, Zohmingliana Ralte and Asheer Akhtar formed the back-four.
In a game of few chances, Bengaluru FC wasted many. Daniel Lalhlimpuia saved them the blushes in the second half by firing one inside the box. The goal was made by Daniel and converted by Daniel. George curled one in from the right to substitute Daniel Segovia at the centre. The Spaniard, who came on as a substitute for Robinson Singh, beat his marker and set Lalhlimpuia up with a beautiful glancing header. The other Daniel made no mistake as he powered his shot into the back of the net.
The first real chance of the match though went to Abahani Dhaka, who made a brilliant move on the right in the 16th minute. Captain Mohammed Mamun Miah charged down the right and played it to the centre. Abahani's Japanese midfielder Kojima Seiya met the cross with a great header but it was straight at the hands of Ralte.
Daniel Lalhlimpuia took BFC's first shot, albeit off target, from 30 yards out, in the 27th minute. Daniel had another shot go out just wide in the 33rd minute.
BFC had a good counter-attack going in the 42nd minute but before Semboi Haokip could put a ball in, Abahani defenders had rushed back. Haokip could have finished off a move in the next minute started by Alwyn George and resulting in Victor Perez setting him up inside the box, but he took an extra touch and allowed Abahani defenders to neutralise the threat.
Abahani's tempo slowed down in the second half, which allowed Bengaluru FC to attack with more vigour. But they clearly lacked in their finishing as they missed chances galore from the restart until the hour mark.
Daniel struck BFC's first shot on target in the 49th minute, another long-ranger from 20 yards out which was gloved by Abahani goalkeeper Sahidul Alam.
Alwyn George tricked his way around Abahani defender Waly Faisal and played a delightful ball to Victor Perez at the centre, but the Spaniard didn't quite connect with the shot in another wasted chance for BFC.
In the 55th minute, Zohmingliana Ralte (Zotea) sent Asheer Akhtar on a chase and the right-back was quite up to the challenge. He played to Haokip at the centre first time, but the striker miscued his shot. Perez didn't connect with another cross of Akhtar the very next minute.
Through the while, Abahani had only two chances - both off set-pieces - which they didn't make the best of. And with Abahani tiring out, Bengaluru FC pounced on their lack of concentration to surge ahead in the game.
Bengaluru FC 1 (Daniel Lalhlimpuia 72) bt Abahani Dhaka 0
New Radiant 3 (Ali Ashfaq 40, 77, 85) bt Aizawl FC 1 (Lalramhmunmawia 33)