Kolkata: Bengaluru FC reached the final of the Durand Cup 2022 after beating Hyderabad FC 1-0 in the second semifinal of the competition at the Salt Lake Stadium, here on Thursday.
An unfortunate own goal by Odei Onaindia (31′) helped Bengaluru FC to reach the final as Hyderabad FC had no answer to the Blues’ unshakeable defence led by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who bedazzled their opponents with his astonishing saves to deny each and every shot.
With this, Bengaluru FC scripted history as they reached the final of the Durand Cup for the very first time in their club’s history. They will now face fellow ISL side Mumbai City FC in the summit clash on Sunday.
The Yellow and Blacks were the first to get on to the attack, as a leaky pass from Sunil Chhetri made way for Halicharan Narzary to link up with Bartholomew Ogbeche, but the striker’s shot was calmly saved by the BFC keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
Both Bengaluru FC and Hyderabad FC were in constant search of attacking plays but neither side could get a hold on the possession as the game had a sporadic look.
The Blues broke the deadlock in the 31st minute through an own goal from Odei Onaindia after Prabir Das put in a brilliant lofted pass inside the box from the right wing for Krishna as he sneaked in between the two HFC defenders, only for Onaindia to find the back of the net through a deflection.
The Yellow and Blacks got glimpses of attacking action but they couldn’t beat Gurpreet Singh Sandhu as the custodian kept his nerve and saved several shots. Bengaluru FC shaped up defensively after having a one-goal lead over Hyderabad FC, who although had more of the ball, trailed at the break.
Manuel Marquez’s men swung into the attack in the second half as Bartholomew Ogbeche put a towering header from a Nikhil Poojary cross but Sandhu rose to the occasion yet again as he made a diving save to deny the goal.
The men in yellow kept finding spaces up in the final third but the Blues’ defence was watertight and were successful in keeping Hyderabad FC at bay.
Hyderabad FC had their biggest chance of the game in the 75th minute after Akash Mishra, Bartholomew Ogbeche, and Javier Siverio linked up well on the left as Siverio whipped in a cross from the left towards Borja Herrera on the right but the Spaniard couldn’t get a hold of the ball and hit it off target.
The chances kept coming for the ISL champions, this time through Halicharan Narzary who put in a cross for Borja Herrera who then squared it to Bartholomew Ogbeche but the Nigerian just couldn’t get his shot on target.
The side from Deccan had yet another go at goal as Siverio and Joao Victor squeezed through the defenders to link up with the latter pulling a shot from outside the box but Sandhu was vigilant enough to make the save.
Manuel Marquez’s men threw the kitchen sink in the closing stages of the game but they couldn’t penetrate the immovable defensive walls built by Bengaluru FC. HFC tried all they could offensively but Sandhu wasn’t letting the ball go past that line as he pulled yet another save out of his drawer as Siverio came close to scoring the equaliser for his side from the free-kick.