Indian club Bengaluru FC started their season on a positive note beating Maldives’ Eagles to a 1-0 win in an AFC Cup playoff match on Sunday. Jayesh Rane’s lone goal brought Marco Pezzaioli’s men into Group D of the continental competition, where they await ATK Mohun Bagan, Bashundhara Kings, and Maziya S&RC.
Blues will face ATK Mohun Bagan in the first match of Group D on Wednesday. Midfielder Jayesh Rane scored in the 26th minute at the National Stadium, which proved to be the only goal of the game. Both the teams were not in the best shape in the first 45 minutes but the former Indian Super League (ISL) champions BFC managed to maintain their advantage through the game.
Local club Eagles looked impressive on the wings at their pace, but the Indian football club was on par, with Rane leading the visitors half an hour earlier. Rane fired a powerful low shot from inside the box to give Bengaluru the much-needed advantage.
The visitors were almost level just before the break, when defender Sarthak Golui nearly put the ball into his own goal from a corner from the Eagles before his goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu came to the rescue and retained the lead. BFC held their ground at the start of the second half, but there was no goal-scoring action as the visitors only intended to hold on to the lead and the hosts struggled to level.
With 65 minutes of play, Bengaluru FC had a great chance to respond but their shot went side-netting for no loss. With 83 minutes of play, the Eagles could have brought this one home for Leon Augustine as he charged to the left, but his sloping ball went a bit too high. BFC made the final change as Danish Farooq made his debut, replacing Sunil Chhetri before extra time.
Bengaluru, who made it to the second preliminary round with a comprehensive 5-0 win over Tribhuvan Army FC, landed in the Maldives earlier this week before preparations for the clash began.