Rane strikes as Bengaluru FC enter AFC Cup Group D-South Zone
Male, August 16, 2021
Indian Super League (ISL) club Bengaluru FC qualified for the AFC Cup (Group D, South Zone) after registering a 1-0 win over Club Eagles of Maldives at the National Stadium here on Sunday evening.
New signing Jayesh Rane scored the winner in the 26th minute. The Sunil Chhetri-led Bengaluru FC now join fellow ISL side ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB), Maldives' Maziya Sports & Recreation and Bangladesh's Bashundhara Kings in Group D, which kicks off on August 18 with their match against ATKMB.
The first real threat from Bengaluru FC came in the 11th minute when Cleiton Silva whipped a nice ball in from a corner and Alan Costa nodded it to a dangerous area where Yrondu Musavu-King headed it goal-wards only to find the Maldivian goalkeeper Mohamed Faisal.
The very next minute, Bengaluru FC made another good move. Skipper Chhetri ran in from the left and put the ball in deftly from the edge of the box. Silva stretched himself aerially and managed to meet the ball but he wasn't in control of his effort and the ball sailed over the crossbar.
A few minutes later, the Eagles got an opportunity of their own and Ismail put the ball in the back of the net but he was adjudged offside to the relief of Bengaluru FC. Marco Pezzaiuoli's team kept the pressure up though and it was not long before they went ahead.
The 2018/19 ISL champions broke the deadlock in the 26th minute. A throw-in from Sarthak Golui into the box came off the head of a Maldivian player and the ball fell to an unmarked Rane who made no mistake and beat the goalkeeper to put Bengaluru FC ahead.
In the 44th minute, a big scare came Bengaluru FC's way, though. A Maldivian corner into the box and Golui almost scored an own goal as the ball perilously came off his foot. Bengaluru FC had their goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to thank for the narrow escape.
In the second half, Bengaluru FC controlled the game and didn't give any opportunity whatsoever for the Maldivians to come back. All this until the 67th minute when the Eagles came dangerously close to scoring: after dodging successfully two Bengaluru FC defenders, a Maldivian attacker failed to finish to perfection as his shot went off target.
In the 84th minute, Bengaluru FC got close to scoring their second goal. Chhetri found substitute Augustine in the box but the latter's curler narrowly went over the crossbar.