Kolkata, Oct 19: Elated over Bengaluru FC's history-making feat of becoming the first Indian club to enter the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup final, legend I.M. Vijayan on Wednesday credited Sunil Chhetri's brace as the turning point of the semi-final second leg against Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim.
"I saw the game. Sunil was the turning point. He proved once again why he is India's number one striker," Vijayan told IANS over phone moments after the two-time I-League champions rode Chhetri's double strike to down the defending champions 3-1 in the second leg, 4-2 on aggregate.
"This is not only Bengaluru FC's victory, this is India's triumph."
"The entire Indian football fraternity is proud today. This should act as an impetus to further develop the sport in the country," All India Football Federation (AIFF) Vice-President Subrata Dutta said.
I-League CEO Sunando Dhar, who was at the Kanteerava Stadium witnessing history being created, added, "The efforts put in by Bengaluru FC have all come down to this. I cannot describe the enormity of this win. This is the best day in Indian club football."
Mohun Bagan also congratulated Bengaluru on their achievement.
"It gives us immense pleasure and gratitude to extend our heartiest congratulations to the entire BFC family for creating history.
"Your performance has ignited hope in the heart of millions of ardent football lovers of the country. This feat will be etched in our memory for a lifetime," a statement said.
"Sunil Chhetri has once again proved his mettle and has become a phenomenon and proved that he is a player of the big occasion. We wish to see you lift the coveted AFC Cup and make the country proud," Mohun Bagan said.