Johnson hands BFC late win, Bagan fight back against Dhaka
A John Johnson goal from what was to be the last chance of the game meant Bengaluru FC came away with all three points following a 1-0 win against Maziya Sports and Recreation Club in Group E of the AFC Cup. Meanwhile, Mohun Bagan came back from a goal down to register their first group win against Dhaka Abahani at home.
Four changes were made to the Bengaluru side that took on Mohun Bagan at the weekend, with the captain Sunil Chhetri, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Lenny Rodrigues all handed starts, while Salam Ranjan Singh replaced Nishu Kumar in defence.
The first half was tight, with Udanta Singh and defender Juanan spurning decent chances. Maziya striker Imaaz Ahmed was at the end of the home side's best chance of the half but Amrinder Singh was equal to the shot from distance as both sides headed back into the tunnel with the scores unchanged.
Bengaluru pressed high from the start of the second half in search of the opener and almost got it when Cameron Watson's shot from an Udanta cross bounced off a Maziya defender only for Juanan to smash high on the rebound.
Sensing the need for aerial presence in the box, Roca sent on Marjan Jugovic in place of Rodrigues with half an hour to play. Maziya retreated into their own half for most parts of the second period as Bengaluru dominated possession and controlled play.
Nishu and Harmanjot Khabra were introduced for fresh legs down the flanks and it was the former who was involved as Bengaluru came closest to breaking the deadlock. Nishu's low cross from a narrow angle after a darting run into the box could not be tapped home by Udanta. Chhetri then agonizingly put away a chance following a brilliant one-two with Jugovic.
For all their dominance throughout the game, it was the final chance that had Bengaluru nick the points. A long punt forward from a free-kick taken by Amrinder was spilled by Matiash who should have punched instead of attempting to collect. The ball fell to Jugovic who hooked the ball towards the goal and Johnson leapt high to divert the ball in with his foot.
Bengaluru return to I-League duties next as they face Aizawl FC at the Kanteerava Stadium, on Sunday.
Bagan open AFC account
Goals from Balwant Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Sony Norde helped Mohun Bagan to a 3-1 win over Bangladesh's Dhaka Abahani at home.