Five BFC Boys Feature And Udanta Grabs Assist As India Beat Laos 1-0
Vientiane, Laos: Five Bengaluru FC players featured as India took on Laos in the first leg of the Round 1 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers at the National Stadium, in Vientiane, Laos, on Thursday. Blues Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Rino Anto and a late substitute in Alwyn George were part of the Blue Tigers’ squad, who went on to post a 1-0 win courtesy a 56th minute goal from Jeje Lalpekhlua, assisted by a cross from Udanta. We take a quick look at the performance of our boys in what was an important result.
Arguably the player of the night, Udanta was a constant threat to the Laos defence, cutting in and out down the right flank to deliver a host of dangerous crosses into the box. With a strong start to the second half, the 19-year-old dribbled his marker to take a shot that was blocked away before a 56th minute assist gave the Blue Tigers a lead they held on to, with Jeje Lalpekhlua’s header beating the Laos ’keeper.
The skipper held the strings together up front, linking between midfield and attack to set Jeje through on several occasions. His cut back for Blues’ teammate Eugeneson Lyngdoh was inches wide of the Laos frame minutes before half time. Tracking back to stop Laos attacks on several occasions, Chhetri covered much needed ground to help the Blue Tigers’ defense hold on to the slender lead until the final whistle.
Returning to National fray for the first time following his injury sustained in February, Lyngdoh showed just why he is the best midfielder in the country, holding Stephen Constantine’s midfield together. Partnered alongside Mohammed Rafique and Holicharan Narzary, Lyngdoh pushed forward and was at the end of several efforts, closest of which was an acrobatic effort that flew just off target. The 29-year-old was integral to stopping the Laos midfield from getting forward, whilst acting as a fulcrum to send Chhetri and Udanta down the flanks.
At his dependable best, Rino linked up well down the right flank, constantly providing cover for Udanta’s runs forward and overlapping him to cross into dangerous areas. Playing with an attacking defensive combination of Sandhesh Jhinghan and Arnab Mondal, Rino often recovered well to keep India’s lead intact, once again proving why he is among the best right-backs in the country.
An 89th minute substitute for Mohammed Rafique, Alwyn George barely got more than a couple of minutes to leave a lasting impression. His coming on to the pitch in India colors was encouraging to see, following a prolonged absence from the national fray.