Bengaluru, Dec 14: Bengaluru FC were undoubtedly the best thing which happened to Indian football in the year 2016.
From winning the I-League title for the second time in three years to scripting history by reaching the finals of AFC Cup 2016, the team from Garden City have done it all.
The year started on a high as the Ashley Westwood Bengaluru FC won back the I-League trophy from Mohun Bagan. After winning it in their debut season in top flight, they won it again this year.
Along with I-League, the JSW owned side had AFC Cup competition on their bucket list. They were eliminated from the competition last season in the last season and thus, they had to better their feat.
Bengaluru FC did improve their AFC performance by beating Kitchee SC in the round of 16. Then they defeated Tampines Rovers in the quarters and Johor Darul Ta'zim in the historic semi-final.
They were pitted against a strong AirForce Club of Iraq and after producing a valiant fight, the Sunil Chhetri led Bengaluru FC 0-1.
As we head into a brand new year, let us look back at Bengaluru FC's momentous year.
Here are some photos from Bengaluru FC's historic year:
Bengaluru FC players with their second I-League title
Bengaluru FC won their second I-League title in three seasons in April 2016.
Bengaluru FC forward CK Vineeth celebrates after scoring against Tampines Rovers
Bengaluru FC were scheduled to play their first match of the new season and it was the AFC Cup quarter-final first leg against Singapore's Tampines Rovers. Due to unavoidable Political turmoil in the city, the team was forced to play the match in the empty. In such condition, CK Vineeth scored the only goal which proved to be vital for the team.
Sunil Chhetri celebrates with teammates after reaching the AFC Cup final
It was indeed a historic day for Indian football as Bengaluru FC defeated Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim to reach the AFC Cup final, the first Indian side to do so. They defeated Johor 3-1 at home and 4-2 on aggregate.
Bengaluru FC led by captain Sunil Chhetri
Bengaluru FC led by captain Sunil Chhetri takes the field in AFC Cup final against Iraq's AirForce Club.
Sunil Chhetri collected the AFC FairPlay Award
Bengaluru FC lost the final battle 0-1 against Iraq's AirForce club but were awarded the AFC FairPlay trophy.