The I-League triumph on debut had got the country to sit up and take notice of the brand of football Bengaluru FC were dishing out. But The Blues’ tryst with the Federation Cup hadn’t really gotten off to the best start. A disappointing knock-out defeat at the hands of East Bengal in the 2013-14 edition in Kerala may have been masked by the League triumph, but Bengaluru and Westwood were hurting within.
Goa had been a special place in season one for the Blues, having beaten Dempo, Salgaocar, Churchill Brothers and Sporting Clube de Goa in the League before hoisting the cup at the Fatorda. Bengaluru were hoping for the affair to flourish when the state was announced as the venue for the 2014-15 Fed Cup.
Drawn in Group B alongside Salgaocar, Mohun Bagan, Pune FC and Shillong Lajong, Bengaluru got their campaign off to a winning start with a 3-2 result over the club from Goa. Up next were Mohun Bagan and the tussle ended even at 0-0.
In Group A, Dempo started with a draw and then went on to win the next three games to cement top-spot. Bengaluru, meanwhile, racked up wins against Shillong Lajong (1-0) and Pune FC (2-1) to set up a semifinal clash against Sporting Clube de Goa who finished runners up in Group A.
A fixture that held the promise of a fight turned out to be a rout, one in which Sunil Chhetri sandwiched his scorching left-footed strike between simple finishes from Sean Rooney and Eugeneson Lyngdoh. A 3-0 win was the perfect way to ready for a final against Dempo who brushed aside Salgaocar 2-0 in the other semifinal.
The Blues had vanquished Dempo at home a season ago to be crowned kings of India and the club from Goa hadn’t forgotten. This was a chance to pull one back and even have a trophy to show for it.
For all the fantastic football the two teams were capable of playing, it was two penalties that squared things in the first half. Chhetri tucked home from the spot in the 10th minute, only for Australian Tolgay Ozbey to smash home his take on the stroke of half-time. But Beikhokhei Beingaichho, as he had done so often from down the right, swung in a delightful cross that Robin Singh met with a powerful header to make it 2-1 a little over the hour mark. Bengaluru had enough experience at the back to ensure that Chhetri and his mates ahead wouldn’t need to toil for another goal.
Dempo had been beaten yet again and Bengaluru FC’s romance with Goan teams and the Fatorda was sealed with yet another piece of silverware. Bengaluru hadn’t put one wrong step through the tournament and such was their domination that even the 0-0 draw against Bagan in the group stages seemed like a blemish. Two trophies in two years and suddenly we had converted more than just a few naysayers. We had the League and we now had the Cup.
Hanghal, Rino, Vineeth, Thoi, Chhetri, Meitei, Beingaichho, Lyngdoh, Shankar, Walker, Osano, Vishal, Poirei, Cardozo, Pawan, Ralte, Chhuantea, Robin, Manpreet, Gurtej, Sawhney, Shilton, Manju, Keegan, Udanta, Darren, Rooney and Johnson
Head Coach: Ashley Westwood