Bengaluru: Goals from Sunil Chhetri (16’), Daniel Segovia (17’, 62’), Udanta Singh (30’) and Daniel Lalhlimpuia (89’) gave Albert Roca the reaction he wanted from his side as Bengaluru FC beat a hapless Aizawl FC 4-0 at the Kanteerava Stadium, to keep their hopes of a place in the knock-out stages of the AFC Cup alive.
In Wednesday’s other fixture, Group E leaders New Radiant of Maldives had little trouble against Abahani Dhaka Limited, beating the side from Bangladesh 5-1. Part of a two-horse race to progress to the zonal semifinal, Bengaluru will need to beat Abahani and hope that New Radiant either lose or draw against Aizawl in Guwahati, in what will be the last round of group stage games.
Bengaluru’s first chance at taking the lead came in the 11th minute when Udanta Singh blitzed down the right and sent in a delightful cross that Daniel Segovia brought down. But the Spaniard’s shot on goal was kept out by Lalawmpuia.
But the Blues didn’t have to wait for too long after Chhetri, who was brought down by Lalawmpuia in the box, stepped up in the 16th minute to score what was his 23rd goal of the season. Hurting from a disappointing defeat to New Radiant last week and having tasted blood with the skipper’s opener, Bengaluru took only a minute to score again. Erik Paartalu followed up a fantastic interception with a no-look pass that Segovia caressed past the ’keeper’s left.
Paartalu was then involved in Bengaluru’s third goal, picking Chhetri’s run with the perfect ball over the Aizawl defence. The Bengaluru captain took on a defender before squaring the ball for Udanta to tap home and make it 3-0.
It was one-way traffic for all of the first half and the script didn’t change in the second. Segovia got his second of the night, a glancing header from a Subhasish Bose cross in the 62nd minute.
A second-half substitute for Boithang Haokip, Lalhlimpuia rounded of a quality performance with a fifth Bengaluru goal with barely a minute left on the clock. Chhetri, squirmed past an Aizawl shirt in the box before squaring a pass for the young striker who didn’t make a mistake with his shot on goal.
Bengaluru now travel to Bangladesh where they play Abahani Dhaka on May 16.