Jay Bhavnani’s First-Half Penalty Enough For Visitors To Claim Three Points in Close Encounter
Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC wrapped up their Stafford Challenge Cup campaign with a 0-1 defeat in their final Group C encounter against Kenkre FC, at the Bangalore Football Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Tuesday. Striker Jay Bhavnani’s first-half penalty (41’) proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Ahead of the game, Bengaluru Coach Naushad Moosa made three changes to the side that featured against Delhi FC on Sunday, with goalkeeper Lara Sharma, midfielder Shreyas Ketkar and Rajanbir Singh returning to the fray.
The Blues started well, creating chances aplenty and went close on several occasions, but it was the away side that took the lead, against the run of play. Nearing the halfway mark, Ashish Jha brought Raul Almeida down in the box, prompting referee Sreekumar Pillai to point to the spot. Bhavnani then stepped up to convert from 12 yards out, sending Sharma the wrong way to put his side in the lead.
Into the second period, the Blues sought a reaction with Moosa making a double change bringing on Satendra Singh and Vinith Venkatesh, who replaced Jha and Amay Morajkar.
An end-to-end encounter ensued between the sides with Bengaluru pushing for an equalizer. But the Blues were unable to trouble Kenkre ’keeper Aryan Surwade in goal. Moosa continued to ring in the changes, bringing on Harsh Patre on for Ketkar and a little later, winger Ashik Adhikari replaced Thoi Singh.
Kenkre continued to push forward in an effort to add to their one-goal advantage, and came close when Bhavnani put the ball in the back of the net, only for it to be ruled offside in the 72nd minute. Bengaluru had their best chance to restore parity in the 85th, when Clarence Fernandes found himself at the end of a corner following a skirmish in the box, but the defender’s shot from close range hit the crossbar, only for the rebound to be saved by Surwade.
Bengaluru’s journey at the Stafford Challenge Cup drew to a close, as Delhi FC confirmed their spot in the semifinal as winners of Group C.