Bengaluru FC defeated Hyderabad FC 1-0 in the semi-final of the Durand Cup at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Thursday.
Odei Onaindia’s own goal turned out to be the lone deciding one as Bengaluru booked their place in the final, where they will take on Mumbai City FC.
It was a cagey affair from the first whistle as Bengaluru FC and Hyderabad FC started the game aggressively with the latter bearing the brunt of the tackles.
In the 9th minute, Barthomelow Ogbeche was slipped in behind the defense but his shot was powerful but straight at Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in goal, who calmly palmed it away.
The game got progressively violent as the challenges flowed, the boots were raised high and the referee was willing to ‘let play go on’. In the 27th minute, a harmless ball over the top for Akash Mishra turned nasty for the Hyderabad left-back after being pushed into the advertising hoardings by the covering Prabir Das.
The action moved to the other end in the 30th minute as Jayesh Rane’s pass over to the right for Prabir, who sent in a delicious cross in between Anuj Kumar in goal and the defense created confusion in the Hyderabad ranks. Odei Onaindia’s touch took the ball past the keeper as Roy Krishna was flung into the post head first.
A few minutes later, Ogbeche wanted to give an immediate answer but Gurpreet again stood strong in goal to preserve their lead.
With the clock ticking down to the end of the first half, Sunil Chhetri found the ball on the right side of the penalty box but his shot sailed over the crossbar.
After the restart, Hyderabad again went on the offensive as Nikhil Poojary’s cross found Ogbeche at the far post unmarked in the 49th minute. But his header was smartly saved by Gurpreet, who dived down to his left.
Ogbeche and Krishna got chances but were either swarmed out or their efforts lacked venom to threaten the keeper.
The attacks from either team flowed but were punctuated but tackles and stoppages. In the 75th minute, Borja Herrera skied his effort after a brilliant cross from Javier Siveiro. Two minutes late, it was Ogbeche who smashed his shot over the crossbar, from inside the six-yard box.
In the 83rd minute, Borja got the ball on the right and cut inside to find Joao Victor at the edge of the box but his side-footed shot was easily saved by Gurpreet.
Hyderabad FC piled on the pressure in the closing minutes but Bengaluru FC sat back to absorb most of it by playing at times with seven players in defense. Ogbeche did manage to put the ball in the back of the net but only after flattening Gurpreet as both went up for a high ball near goalmouth. In added time again, Gurpreet’s fumble almost cost Bengaluru a goal but did not yield anything more than a corner.
With the final whistle, Durand Cup assured a new home for the first time in its long history - Mumbai or Bengaluru.
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