Bengaluru FC played goalless draw against April 25 SC to qualify to play Inter-Zonal final
Bengaluru FC kept their calm to hold on to a three-goal lead from the first leg to seal an aggregate 3-0 win after a goalless draw against 4.25 SC, at the May Day Stadium, in Pyongyang, on Wednesday.
The result secures a place for the Blues in the Inter-zone final of the 2017 AFC Cup, where they will face Tajikistan side FC Istiklol in two-legged finals.
Istiklol had beaten Ceres Negros FC of Philippines on 5-1 aggregate in the other Inter-Zone Semifinals.
Custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was impressive between the bars with some brilliant work for the Blues. The Punjabi-lad saved a penalty kick in the 75th minute of the match.
The game, played on the artificial turf of the massive May Day Stadium, was a contrast to the first leg, where the Blues had dominated proceedings for majority of the night.
In Pyongyang, Bengaluru were edged out in terms of possession and chances, but made up for with a stubborn defense as Gurpreet, Juanan Gonzalez, Rahul Bheke, Harmanjot Khabra and Nishu Kumar, who was later replaced by Subhasish Bose kept the 4.25 SC attack at bay.
The hosts continued to keep the pressure on Blue but it was Man-of-the-Match Gurpreet who did well to command his defenders and the rest of the team, who dropped deep to help thwart the Korean side’s attack.
Speaking at the post-match press conference head coach Alberto Roca said, “They dominated majority of the game and deserved to win. But at the same time, we defended very well as a team and managed to hold on to our lead from the first leg. We are happy to have made it through and now look to get back to Bengaluru and prepare for the big game against FC Istiklol.”
In the Inter-zone final for Bengaluru FC will play the first leg away on September 27th, while the return leg at the Kanteerava Stadium is scheduled for October 18th.
Bengaluru Football Club advanced to the inter-zone final of the AFC Cup after a goalless draw (3-0 aggregate) against April 25 SC of North Kore.