Goals from Sean Rooney, Sunil Chhetri and Eugeneson Lyngdoh sealed the Blues’ berth in the finals of the 2014-15 Football Federation Cup. The 3-0 victory emphasizes Bengaluru FC’s fantastic record against Goan opposition at the Fatorda Stadium. The victory ensures that in the finals, the Blues will face off against Dempo S.C at the iconic Fatorda Stadium.
The Fatorda Stadium has always been a happy hunting ground for the Blues. However, the stakes were considerably higher as they took on the much fancied Sporting Clube de Goa in a semi final encounter.
Despite the nature of the fixture, Bengaluru FC manager Ashley Westwood chose to stick to the rotation policy that the club has been following all through the tournament. Robin Singh and Thoi Singh were left out, as Beikhokhei Beingaichho and Siam Hanghal were brought into the starting XI. Lalthuammawia Ralte kept his place in between the with John Johnson and Curtis Osano deployed in the heart of the Bengaluru defensive unit.
— Bengaluru FC (@bengalurufc) January 9, 2015
The Sporting Clube de Goa coaching personnel however opted to go with the side that triumphed over East Bengal in a thrilling 4-3 encounter at the Fatorda, with Ravi Kumar deployed in between the sticks along with captain Anthony Wolfe and Victorino Fernandes in attack.
Sean Rooney strikes
The match began with both sides more than content to knock the ball around, and all 22 players on the turf getting a touch of the ball. Trinidad and Tobago international and captain Anthony Wolfe failed to find a way past the resolute brick wall of Bengaluru defensive duo of John Johnson and Curtis Osano. The first chance of the match fell to Sean Rooney, as the Australian striker’s header from a Beikhokhei cross found its way into the arms of Sporting Goa custodian Ravi Kumar. The latter was called upon once more barely a couple of minutes later, as another header to the ground too was saved.
The pendulum swung both ways as both sides were successful in their respective attacks, as for the first time in the tournament, the impressive John Johnson looked out of place. If Wolfe’s physical presence was too much to handle for Johnson and Osano, they were presented with another problem in the form of Victorino Fernandes. The pacy Indian international created massive problems, particularly for full back Rino Anto, and the menacing Goa winger did not give a minute’s respite for the Bengaluru defence.
However, as we have seen all through the tournament, most of the goals are scored against the run of play. Sunil Chhetri’s passing skills and fitness came to the fore as his pass found left back Keegan Pereira, whose fantastic cross in turn fell into the path of Sean Rooney, whose calm finish put the Blues ahead.
Sunil Chhetri’s Scorcher Gets everybody on their feet
The Rooney goal prompted a change from the Sporting Goa bench, as Jovel Martins was introduced into the setup. The substitution failed as Westwood’s men continued building up their attacks. Ten minutes after the Rooney goal, Bengaluru FC found themselves with a two goal cushion. Apart from the two goal cushion, the crowd at the Fatorda was left awestruck and on their feet, as the Bengaluru FC captain scored perhaps the goal of the tournament when he got his angles right to put the ball in the top corner of the net.
Robin Singh comes on to solidify the Bengaluru attack
Despite allowing himself a slight chuckle at the end of the first half, two goals were not enough for Ashley Westwood. Making his intentions clear, Westwood introduced Robin Singh in a bid to add to the two goal lead.
The half time talk, ensured that Bengaluru FC did not lift their foot off the gas, as some quick passing from Josh Walker and Beikhokhei created yet another chance for the Blues.
Eugeneson seals the deal as the match takes a violent turn
” Football is not a game for delicate men”.
The match took an unfortunate violent turn in the second half, as the quote above was reinforced time and again as a majority of the players from both sides became entangled in a series of violent face-offs. The most notable of them was Sporting Goa captain Anthony Wolfe, and Victorino Fernandes and Bengaluru FC’s Keegan Pereira and John Johnson. Ashley Westwood was also seen exchanging heated words from the touchline with Anthony Wolfe.
However, barring the ugly side of the game, Eugenson Lyngdoh put the game beyond doubt, as the midfielder scored his first goal for the Bengaluru outfit. A defensive error from the Goa side ensured that Robin Singh’s calm through ball found Lyngdoh who in turn slotted it home to give the Blues an unassailable 3-0 lead.
Ashley Westwood and his band of merry men will meet Dempo S.C in the final at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday. It will certainly be a battle between two heavyweights of Indian football, with Bengaluru looking to win their first Federation Cup and Dempo looking to add a second Federation Cup to their inventory.