Bengaluru FC win maiden Federation Cup crown

Margao, Jan 11: Robin Singh headed in a 69th minute winner as Bengaluru FC emerged Federation Cup champions with a 2-1 victory over Goa's Dempo Sports Club at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here Sunday.

The two sides had finished 1-1 at half time, after an early strike from Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri was nullified by Dempo's Aussie talisman Tolgay Ozbey.

Bengaluru FC player in action (middle)

The Goans had to play the last 21 minutes with ten men after Rowilson Rodrigues was sent off for a studs-up lunge on Thoi Singh.

Both teams started off cautiously trying to size up each other, before Bengaluru drew first blood in the tenth minute. The visitors' medio Eugeneson Lyngdoh was brought down into the box by Dempo's Afghan defender Haroon Amiri, and the referee pointed to the dreaded spot. Seasoned campaigner Chhetri had little difficulty in converting the easiest of set pieces.

Ozbey launched into a solo run dancing past defenders to get into the box but to the local supporters' dismay, pulled disappointingly wide of target.

Soon after, Romeo Fernandes strayed inches wide from close. Dempo's relentless efforts bore fruit courtesy a BFC foul play deep into first half stoppage time. Johnson hauled back Amiri inside the box while Lalthuammawia Ralte collected the corner with ease.

Dempo drew level from another penalty in first half stoppage time. Amiri was tugged down by Englishman John Johnson inside the box and Ozbey coolly netted from the spot.

Midway into the session, BFC were dealt a jolt when striker Josh Walker limped off forcing coach Ashley Westwood to pull Sean Rooney back into the midfield with Robin Singh going upfront.

Dempo showed more enterprise after the break, though Ozbey was substituted four minutes into the session following cramps.

Bengaluru scored the decisive goal when Beikhokhei's cross from the right was headed into the far corner of the net by Robin Singh.

Dempo tried to rally back, but received a further setback when Rodrigues got the marching orders.

However, they could have still made a match of it, but for Holicharan Narzary muffing up a couple of sitters in the dying minutes.


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