Daniel Lalhimpuia strike as Bengaluru edge Dhaka Abahani, Radiant trounce Aizawl in AFC Cup
Written by: Bengaluru FC
The Blues' forward scored the only goal of the game past the hour mark.
A young Bengaluru FC side got the club’s AFC Cup Group E campaign to a winning start after a Daniel Lalhlimpuia strike (72’) gave the Blues a 1-0 win over Abahani Limited Dhaka (Bangladesh) at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.
Watch: Bengaluru FC 1-0 Abahani Limited Dhaka highlights
With the focus firmly on Saturday’s ISL final against Chennaiyin FC, Albert Roca handed first starts to three players in Lucas Perez, Asheer Akhtar and Robinson Singh. Joyner Lourenco and Zohmingliana Ralte were in the center of a defence that saw the return of Nishu Kumar from an injury lay off.
In a rather quiet first half where chances were at a premium for both sides, Daniel Lalhlimpuia had a couple of tries from distance at goal, but nothing dangerous enough to ruffle the ranks in the Abahani defence.
Bengaluru started the second half with a lot more intent and the dominance in possession had Abahani defending in numbers. Akhtar was a threat with his overlapping runs and dangerous crosses in the box which Thongkhosiem Haokip and Perez failed to connect cleanly in quick succession.
Roca’s second change on the hour mark saw Daniel Segovia come on for Robinson, adding more teeth to the Bengaluru attack. With Abahani under pressure, the Blues eventually got the breakthrough in the 72nd with both the Daniels combining. Alwyn George, with ball on the right, did well to hold on to possession before sending in a cross that Segovia headed down for Lalhlimpuia. The striker smashed his take on the bounce, leaving Sahidul Alam with no chance.
Minutes later, Segovia had a chance to make it two-nil but shot on the run from an angle went straight to the Abahani ’keeper. Roca then handed another youngster, Leon Augustine his first appearance for the senior team, bringing him on in place of George.
Abahani threw numbers in attack towards the end of the game in a bid to get an equaliser but the Bengaluru defence did well to hold fort and take all three points on the night.
New Radiant went into the game on the back of a 1-0 opening-day win over Bangladesh’s Abahani Limited Dhaka, while Aizawl were making their maiden appearance in the competition.
Watch: New Radiant SC 3-1 Aizawl FC highlights
After a goalless first half hour, the visitors broke the deadlock when Lalram Hmunmawia tapped home from close range after first a surging Andrei Ionescu and then Albert Zohmingmawia were denied by goalkeeper Imran Mohamed.
The hosts levelled five minutes before the interval after Aizawl failed to properly clear a New Radiant attack and Ahmed Abdulla’s delivery back into the box was well finished by Ashfaq.
New Radiant had the better of the early stages in the second half and Ashfaq saw his sweetly struck shot well parried out by goalkeeper Lalawmouia just after the hour.
The visitors were then reduced to 10 men with 16 minutes remaining when goalscorer Hmunmawia was dismissed for a foul on substitute Guillem Marti, before the home team took the lead soon after.
Angel Luiz’s ball over the top was headed by Guillem to Hisam Saleem on the left touchline and his looping cross was met by Ashfaq for his second of the game.
The striker then completed his hat-trick with five minutes remaining when he acrobatically finished Ali Fasir’s headed pass to round off a fine night’s work.
New Radiant’s next task will be an away trip to 2016 runners-up JSW Bengaluru of India in four weeks’ ime, before which Aizawl host Bengaluru in northeast India.
Published: Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:19 PM IST