Bengaluru FC go down fighting to SAI Guwahati 1-2 in Hero Elite League

Young Blues Face East Bengal In Must-Win Game On Thursday

Goa: Bengaluru let an early led slip as they went down 1-2 to Sports Authority of India, Guwahati in their second game of the final phase in the Hero Elite League at the Utorda Ground in Goa, on Tuesday.

In an entertaining game, skipper Manbhakupar Iawphniaw (1’) put Bengaluru in the lead in the very first minute before SAI equalized through Jun Kharia (7’) in the first half. Shano Tariang (76’) converted from the penalty spot to give SAI their first win in the final phase.

The loss also meant that Bengaluru (3 pts) dropped down to the third place in Group-C behind SAI Guwahati (4 pts) and East Bengal (4 pts) after the latter beat Delhi Dynamos 1-0 in the other group game. With just one more round to go, the Young Blues need to win against East Bengal in their final game on Thursday to progress to the quarterfinal.

Going into their second game in three days, the Young Blues started off brightly with a goal in the opening minute. Ronik Moirangthem’s inch-perfect cross from the right was calmly put home by Manbhakupar. However, the lead lasted just six minutes as an unmarked Jun Kharia pulled level at the other end.

It was an even battle thereafter as both sides continued to trade blows. For Bengaluru it was striker Akashdeep Singh and Manbhakupar who went close, while Kharia had close attempts for SAI.

While the Blues pushed forward in the second half, a defensive error at the back hit them hard as Shano Tariang gave SAI the lead in the 71st minute, converting from the penalty spot after defender Mohammed Rafi brought down Gedion Lepcha in the BFC box.

John Kenneth Raj’s boys didn’t let the goal hamper their confidence and kept pushing up in search of the equaliser. However, SAI managed to defend deep and hold on to their narrow lead to seal a 2-1 win.

Bengaluru FC take on East Bengal in a must win game on January 31.