Bengaluru FC, Delhi FC complete quarter-finals line-up in Durand Cup
Kolkata, September 21, 2021
Delhi FC held on, and Bengaluru FC made a stunning comeback to complete the quarter-finals line-up of the 130th Durand Cup.
Delhi pipped Kerala Blasters 1-0 while Bengaluru overcame Indian Navy 5-2.
Navy had a chance, Kerala Blasters had a glimmer of hope until the final minute, but it wasn’t to be their day. Throughout the 90 minutes, all four teams had a mathematical chance to qualify.
Delhi was up against formidable Kerala Blasters at the Kalyani Municipality Stadium. It was Willis Deon Plaza who gave Delhi the lead in the 53rd minute, and after that, the team from the capital, playing in the second division currently, held on to their lead to qualify.
Plaza is now the top scorer of the tournament with four goals to his name.
At the Yuba Bharati Krirangan (YBK), the Indian Navy team led two-nil against heavyweights Bengaluru FC at half-time.
The Blues looked totally off-colour for the first 45 minutes. They missed quite a number of chances to convert and the Navy dominated the game for almost the entire half.
In the 19th minute, Jijo took a gorgeous shot from outside the box to take the Sailormen one goal up. A few minutes later, Bengaluru had a golden opportunity to equalize when a Harmanpreet cross was well received by Siva Sakthi who took a cross footed shot at the goal but it went over the bar.
In the 30th minute, Sreyas, who has had a very good tournament, scored the second for Navy.
Bengaluru looked a different side in the second half. Just a few minutes after halftime, a fumble in the Navy goal meant Bengaluru’s Leon Augustine had an easy chance to score his team’s first but failed to convert.
However, things changed quickly as Bengaluru raised the tempo. A smart turn by Lyngdoh opened up the Navy defence and Leon halved the deficit in the 53rd minute.
Bengaluru sailed on their newfound momentum and was drawn back on level terms by Harmanpreet Singh in the 61st minute.
In the 75th minute, Bengaluru was awarded a penalty which Ajay Chhetri converted with no mistake and at this point, the game seemed to be slipping away from the Navy.
Harmanpreet got his second of the game in the 81st minute to make it 4-2, essentially ending all hopes of a famous comeback. Thoi Singh added a fifth to make it 5-2 in stoppage time but there was still room for one last goal, with Vijay scoring a consolation goal to end the game 5-3.
Bengaluru thus topped Group C, while Delhi made it to the quarter-finals as runners-up from the group.