Playing in their first season, Jindal’s Bengaluru FC has achieved the rare distinction of winning the I-League in their first year of formation. The Garden City team won the I-League after defeating Goa’s Dempo Sporting Club 4-2 in Fatorda stadium in their 23rd league game. The win leaves them with 44 points, 4 points above East Bengal with only one round left in I-League.
MATCH SUMMARY AND THE GOALS
The goals for BFC were scored by Sean Rooney, Robin Singh, John Menyongar and Sunil Chhetri. Beto and Romeo Fernandes scored the two goals for Dempo. Sean Rooney drew the first blood as early as the 2nd minute, when a misplaced Robin Singh shot found Sean Rooney, who made no mistake in slotting the ball inside the net. Dempo looked to dominate possesion but lacked the penetration with the absence of in form striker Tolgey. As Dempo built up, Bengaluru FC continued to conter attack and kept themselves to safety via brilliant defensive work by John Johnson and Curtis Osano, ably supported by Deep Lying midfielder John Menyongar.
In the 56th minute, Indian international Robin Singh headed in a deflection from Amiri inside the goal to give the Garden city side a 2-0 lead. Dempo tried hard to get back into the game, kept possession, made decent chances but eventually they failed to score goals. Beto, in one instance came close and hit the post, Sanju Pradhan’s shot was saved by Pawan Kumar, Simon Colosimo failed to score from close range, and eventually BFC scored the 3rd goal.
John Menyongar scored the 3rd BFC goal in the 79th minute to give BFC a 3-0 lead. However, the last 10 minutes of the game proved to be absolutely thrilling as the Arthur Papas’ team clawed back two goals to give Bengaluru FC few anxious moments.
The revival started when Beto scored via a brilliant free kick in the 82nd minute. Youngster Romeo Fernandes then added one more in the 89th minute with his brilliant strike from the right wing. As the fourth official gave four minutes of added time the game went into a nerve wracking finish.
BFC defended deep and were trying to hold onto the lead and end up winning 3-2 and the I-League. However, fate had other things up in store. As Dempo pressed on, Sunil Chhetri scored on counter to give BFC a 4-2 lead, a score which eventually stayed on till the end. The goal keeps Sunil Chhetri in the golden boot hunt with 14 goals, equaling Lajong’s striker Glenn.
The win comes as a huge disappointment for East Bengal fans, who were hoping to see their team win the league. The match was also witnessed by many BFC fans, who out-voiced the Dempo fans and made the away game look like a home game.
BFC head coach, Ashley Westwood, had to content himself from the stands as he was suspended from to games during his last game against Mohun Bagan. Assistant coach Pradyum Reddy was at the helm for this game.