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AFC Cup 2021: BFC register a thumping 5-0 victory against TAFC

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Goa: In what can be termed as a new era for Bengaluru FC after a forgetful campaign in the ISL, the blues under newly appointed head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli comprehensively defeated Nepal’s Tribhuvan Army FC 5-0 the AFC Cup 2021 Preliminary round.

The first half was evenly poised, with both teams determined to make a mark in the continental competition. In the 21st minute, a header from Cleiton Silva almost put the Blues in the lead, which was denied by the resolute Tribhuvan goalie Biwash. This was followed by repeated attacks from BFC, but to no avail as TAFC managed to keep the scoreline 0-0 at half-time.

The Blues however, returned with a vengeance, almost a reinvigorated side in the second half, first scoring two goals in quick succession in the 51st and 52nd minute (Bheke and Chhetri). Rahul Bheke managed to pick up a delicious ball in from Cleiton at the corner flag, heading it in, reminiscent of his goal during the ISL finals two years ago. A slight mix-up in the TAFC box just a minute later saw the ball land sweetly onto captain fantastic Sunil Chhetri’s feet, and he made no mistake slotting the ball past a helpless Biwash.

With this being just the confidence booster dose they needed, a third goal came in at the 61st minute, followed by the 4th in the 63rd minute. Not being the one to miss out on a party, Cleiton Silva, the Blues talismanic signing from Brazil made sure Miku’s absence wasn’t felt, by fooling his marker, going right around the keeper and pushing the ball into an empty net, making it seem like child’s play. In just a couple of minutes, he got the opportunity to score a brace by scooping a ball brought into the box by Bheke straight past the keeper and into the goal.

But the Blues were not done yet. Thirsty for more, Rahul Bheke repeated his heroics of the first goal, again heading a ball thrust in from Cleiton at the corner flag, getting BFC the fifth and final goal of the game at the 65th minute.

Thus, in a short span of 15 minutes in the second half, 5 goals from the Blues meant that the Nepal army team had no means to come back into the game. With the game firmly in their grasp, Marco decided to hand out the Bengaluru B team players a chance to experience the AFC Cup, which they did with gusto.

Forward Edmund Lalrindika came on for Cleiton Silva, while Midfielder Namgyal Bhutia came on for the Gabonese defender Yrondu Musavu-King, both in the 72nd minute. Erik Paartalu and Harmanjot Khabra made way for youngsters Damaitphang Lyngdoh and Ajith Kumar respectively in the 75th minute. In the 81st minute, Udanta Singh was replaced by Naorem Roshan Singh.

The rest of the BFC substitutes on the bench who did not make the cut for this game included Pratik Chowdhary, Parag Shrivas, Mawia Ralte, Biswa Darjee and Akashdeep Singh.

Tribhuvan Army FC Head Coach Nabin Neupane tried a number of tactical changes during the game too, but to no avail. Basnet Bibek was replaced by Ashish Shakya, Bikash Tamang was replaced by Jitendra Karki, Sesehang Angdembe and Bimal Pandey were replaced by Rajeev Gurung and Padam Kumar Tamang respectively. Deepak Gurung was replaced by Sudil Rai. It is important to note here that the TAFC team did not comprise of any foreigners, as they are an army side.

The match did not witness any controversial moments, and the lone yellow card produced by the Lebanese referee Ali Reda went to Bimal Panday in the 76th minute. The linesmen Samer Badr and Hassan Kanso, both from Lebanon too didn’t have much work to do, with very few offsides being observed.

The 4th official Baraa Kamal Abu Asheh was from Palestine, while the match commissioner Abdul Ghafoor Abdul Hameed was from Maldives.

Final Scoreline: JSW Bengaluru FC (IND) 5 – 0 Tribhuvan Army FC (NEP)

Rahul Bheke (Brace) – 51’, 65’

Sunil Chhetri – 52’

Cleiton Silva (Brace) – 61’, 63’

A recording of the match is available for viewing on BFC’s Official YouTube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMtBXJHpNCg

Post-Match Press Conference

Speaking to the media, TAFC Head Coach Nabin said that it was a great opportunity for a team from Nepal to represent their country in such a prestigious tournament, helping them learn how bigger and better teams play competitive football. He lauded the performance of his players in the first half, while he rued the gameplay in the second half, congratulating BFC players for identifying their height weakness and using it to their advantage.

The blues head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli was all smiles as he congratulated all his players for understanding and sticking to his game plan. On being asked whether he plans to continue with the same team and tactics for the upcoming games, he replied that their training is solely based on what they can achieve as a team, and not on who or what the opponent is and does.

Rahul Bheke too was present at the press conference, who said that he was happy that he could contribute to the team in terms of goals. “The team is slowly adjusting and adapting to a new system, and the friendly we played against FC Goa helped us improve our gameplay” he added.

The Blues play their next match on 28th April against either Abahani Dhaka from Bangladesh or Club Eagles from Maldives, based on the outcome of the game between the said opponents, which will happen on the 21st April.

Image courtesy BFC Media Team.

AFC Cup 2021: BFC register a thumping 5-0 victory against TAFC
AFC Cup 2021: BFC register a thumping 5-0 victory against TAFC
AFC Cup 2021: BFC register a thumping 5-0 victory against TAFC
AFC Cup 2021: BFC register a thumping 5-0 victory against TAFC
AFC Cup 2021: BFC register a thumping 5-0 victory against TAFC

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