BENGALURU: A pleasant evening at the Garden City witnessed the duel between winners of the last two editions of Hero I-League. Bengaluru FC despite playing with a one-man advantage for good 30-minutes, failed to break Bagan defence the match ended in a 0-0 draw.
Also, it was a duel of sorts between the hundreds of Green and Maroon fans who travelled across the country and the home grew Blues’ supporters who flocked to the fortress to see their team’s win.
Mohun Bagan kicked-off from left to right. They started playing with a 4-4-2 formation putting Darryl Duffy and Balwant Singh on the attack.
The visitors made the first positive move in 4th minute orchestrated from the left flank. BFC got their initial chance in the 8th minute when Captain Sunil Chhetri fouled in the top of the 18-yard box, however, the shot went wide.
Earlier, Bengaluru continued with the same starting eleven from their last round match (against Chennai City FC) keeping Serbian Marjan Jugovic on the bench.
Exchanging attacks Duffy took a nice lurking shot in the 18th minute, Bengaluru keeper Arindam put his fingertips to avoid the danger.
Attacking football from both ends made the game beautiful for the fans.
Keeper Arindam again came in action when Katsumi’s free-kick from a close position, which he earned from a foul that Balwant connected spectacularly saved.
It was the Japanese Katsumi Yusa seen spearheading maximum attacks from the right flank for the visitors. Scot Duffy saw coming close to goal.
Bagan kept on adding pressure for most of the first half, missing target in few occasions.
Back in the game post lemon break, Bengaluru pressed hard in Bagan defence, garnering a couple of free-kicks and corners with no positive outcome.
The 66th minute saw a brilliant thru from Katsumi for Haitian international Sony Norde that had a goal written on it, unfortunately, called offside.
Few minute later Bagan suffered a big jolt when left back Subhasis Bose was given marching order by referee Srikrishna. Coach Sen promptly replaced striker Duffy with Prabir Das, playing as the left full-back.
A header from Sony Norde’s free-kick was put on the back of the Bengaluru’s net much to the joy of the Bagan crowd piled on the lower East Block. However, referee cancelled out owing to an infringement on the keeper.
The final five minutes saw a barrage of attack from the blues, but the Bagan defence kept calm and avoided late danger.
Bengaluru FC keeper Arindam Bhattacharya took away the Hero of the Match.