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Bengaluru FC beat Aizawl FC to reach Fed Cup finals

Cuttack (Odisha) [India]: Cameron Watson’s 8th-minute penalty strike helped JSW Bengaluru FC reach the final of the Federation Cup after Alberto Roca’s men defeated Aizawl FC 1-0 in their semi-final bout held at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, Odisha on Sunday.

The script for Roca’s men went right from the kick-off; courtesy of an early breakthrough.

In the 8th minute, Alwyn George was brought down inside the Aizawl FC box by an uncanny challenge and the referee pointed straight to the spot.

Watson stepped up and slotted the ball into the left bottom corner to give the Blues a solitary goal lead.

At the back, the defensive pairing of John Johnson and Sandesh Jhingan gave the Aizawl forwards a torrid time. In the 12th minute, Kamo was found in the Bengaluru box, but a sweetly timed John Johnson tackle robbed him of possession before he could shoot the ball.

Four minutes later, Lalram Chullova cut in the box from the left flank before unleashing a shot, which saw the tall figure of Sandesh Jhingan and went out for a throw-in.

Playing on the counter, the Blues in the 21st minute came close to doubling their lead after Eugeneson Lyngdoh released CV Vineeth onto goal with a well-weighted through ball.

The latter’s shot, however, was met with Kingsley Eze’s hurling body before Vineeth passed it for an onrushing Alwyn George to capitalise. But George shot the ball over the bar.

On the other end, Aizawl FC were handed a golden opportunity to equalise proceedings after Kamo was found on the far post by a delicious Lalram Chullova cross. The Ivorian, however, could not make clean contact with the ball and headed it wide of goal.

In the 39th minute, Cameron Watson’s shot from outside the box rattled the woodwork as the Blues adopted a more attacking stance. It did not reap any fruits in the first half as the half-time scoreline read 1-0.

Khalid Jamil revamped his side’s tactics in the second half and Mahmoud Al-Amna who was sitting deep in the first half was given more freedom around the 18-yard box. The Syrian, however, was booked for simulation after he beat two defenders to get into the BFC box but fell, in hopes of a penalty, with minimal contact.

Not only that, the Reds played with a high line and an offside trap that caught the Bengaluru FC forwards more than twice. Every time Al-Amna got the ball, the Syrian ran into the Bengaluru FC box in hope of fostering a goal scoring chance.

That chance remained elusive for Aizawl FC as Bengaluru FC’s compact defending kept them at bay. Lalram Chullova missed from the penalty spot right at the dying embers of the match as the full-time scoreline read 1-0 in Bengaluru FC’s favour. (ANI)