Bengaluru, ATK share spoils at the Fortress

Young Blues Show Signs Of Promise In 2-2 Draw Against Antonio Habas’ Men

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC finished the regular season of the Indian Super League with a 2-2 draw against ATK at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Saturday. Goals from Dimas Delgado (18’) and new signing Kevaughn Frater (35’) gave Carles Cuadrat a sizeable lead that was held on to for the most part, but a late resurgence from ATK saw Edu Garcia (86’) and Michael Soosairaj (90’) score to bring things level.

The Blues, fielding a team comprising mainly youngsters, didn’t show any sign of nerves as they outplayed a full-strength ATK side in every department on the pitch. Cuadrat handed first starts in the League to Kevaughn Frater, Leon Augustine, Parag Shrivas and goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill. Sairuat Kima too got a look in, in a five-man defence.

But it was old hand Dimas Delgado who sparked off celebrations at the Fortress when he swung home a freekick that took a bit of Dheeraj Singh’s hand and then the crossbar before ending up in the back of the net at the near post to give Bengaluru the lead in the 18th minute.

Armed with a goal, Bengaluru’s youngsters only grew in confidence in all departments on the pitch, were rewarded for their composure in the 35th minute when Frater made it 2-0. But it was Leon Augustine who did well to create the goal, bursting down the right and picking the Jamaican with the perfect pass before Frater finished with a firm strike.

Cuadrat, sensing the need to protect Delgado who came into the game with three bookings, pulled him off soon after the start of the second half and brought on Suresh Wangjam. The youngster, who has been earing plaudits for his fantastic performances in the recent past, blended seamlessly into the midfield as Bengaluru kept pressing for a third goal.

In the Blues’ attempts to add to their lead, ATK pulled one back in the 86th minute through substitute Edu Garcia. The Spaniard exchanged passes with David Williams before slotting past Prabhsukhan to make it 2-1. ATK’s leveller then came under fortuitous circumstances as Soosairaj turned Leon in the box following a quick free-kick, before the winger’s shot took a heavy deflection off Gursimrat Gill to loop over a hapless Prabhsukhan in the BFC goal.

The Blues next face Maziya S&RC at the same venue, in a crucial playoff round second leg clash of the AFC Cup, in the lead up to an Indian Super League semifinal against one of FC Goa or ATK.