An own goal at the half-hour mark by Spanish defender Odei Onaindia Zabala was enough for Bengaluru FC (BFC) to overcome the challenge of Indian Super League champions Hyderabad FC (HFC) and make the final of the 131st edition of the IndianOil Durand Cup.
It was a largely cagey second semi-final played here at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) with Hyderabad FC having the lion’s share of chances as well as possession and their star striker Batholomew Ogbeche being wasteful for once, but in the end, The Blues did well enough to win the battle of ISL heavyweights.
The match began with no team willing to give an inch and as a result, there were quite a few rough challenges witnessed. Bengaluru FC’s Parag Shrivas was shown a yellow card early. The goal came quite against the run of play and in what was probably the Blues’s first proper attack of the match.
Jayesh Rane played right to Prabir Das, who delivered the perfect cross across the face of the goal for Roy Krishna. The Fijian striker got a touch but Zabala, the Bengaluru FC central defender in fact deflected it into the back of his own net in the end.
Hyderabad FC exerted good pressure after the goal and in one particular instance Yasir found Ogbeche with a cross but the Nigerian just missed the target. The half ended with a chance for Sunil Chetri after he got at the end of a long ball but his volley went over the roof of the net. Hyderabad FC had 68% possession in the half and three shots on goal to Bengaluru FC’s one.
The second half as has been the norm, began with each team making one substitution each. Bengaluru FC gave Rohit Kumar a break and brought in Namgyal Bhutia. Hyderabad FC brought in Sahil Tavora in place of Hitesh Sharma.
There were two more great chances for Ogbeche to score in the half and help bring Hyderabad FC level. The first in the 49th minute saw him take a powerful header off a measured cross delivered by Nikhil Poojary, but Gurpreet Sandhu in Bengaluru FC goal was up to the task. Then in the 77th, a move involving Halicharan and Borja Herrerra found him in space for a shot at goal, but he was just off-target yet again.
There weren’t too many clear chances in the game after that and it ensured that there was going to be a first-time winner of the IndianOil Durand Cup if they can defeat the Islanders, come Sunday.
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