AFC Cup 2021: Bengaluru FC impress in patches against Bashundhara Kings in goalless draw
A game of two halves saw Bengaluru FC eke out a solitary point against Bangladeshi club Bashundhara Kings in their second Group D game in the AFC Cup.
Bengaluru FC gave a good account of themselves in the second half but could eventually only manage a goalless draw against Bashundhara FC from Bangladesh in their second Group D encounter.
Head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli made three changes to the side that lost 2-0 against ATK Mohun Bagan. Danish Farooq came into the central midfield, Parag Shrivas started at right back and the exciting new signing, Bidyashagar Singh, started down the right wing. It was an attacking eleven with Cleiton in the no 9 position and captain Sunil Chhetri down the left.
The Kings made the better start though. Their front three of Biplo Ahmed, Raul Becerra and Robinho were bright in and around the penalty area and called Gurpreet into action quite a few times but not enough to strike serious fear in the Bengaluru camp.
Chhetri and co. took their time to get going. Their first real attempt came in the 24th minute when Musavu-King's glancing header from a corner was saved easily by the goalkeeper.
In the mean time, the Kings were playing some beautiful passing football. They also came close via a couple of freekicks. The first was drawn by Biplo when he was released down the left and went easily past Alan Costa before being pulled back by Musavu-King. Jonathan Fernandes, who was the midfield lynchpin throughout, came close next with a brilliantly executed long ranger that Gurpreet tipped over.
However, Bengaluru ended the half on a good note with a snap-shot from Bidyashagar and a few positive runs from Cleyton which did trouble the Kings' defence. Danish Farooq was definitely the best player in blue in that first half though, having kept possession well and circulated the ball with relative ease.
The second half started with Bengaluru making the same mistakes even after Parag was replaced by Sarthak Golui. The two centre-backs kept giving the likes of Robinho and Becerra too much time and space but went unpunished, much to Gurpreet's relief. Like the match against ATK Mohun Bagan, Chhetri was once again isolated for long stretches and he was getting visibly frustrated.
Then came the biggest chance of the match for the Kings. Robinho got his shot away from inside the box which Gurpreet got his leg to. The ball scooped up and was about to go in when the impressive Naorem Roshan Singh made a brilliant acrobatic clearance from the goal line before Gurpreet completed the save by pushing it out to the side of the goal.
Finally, captain Chhetri got into the act when he went close with his header from a Suresh cross around the hour mark. Soon after, he almost scored when a shot from inside the box looped up following a deflection and almost beat goalkeeper Anisur.
It was all Bengaluru from here on as Alan Costa's header from a corner hit the post and almost crossed the line before the keeper got to it. Jayesh came close next as his shot following a free flowing move down the left went just wide, before Silva had another shot saved.
However, a goal remained elusive and Bengauru FC will now be feeing the pressure ahead of the next game against Maziya S&RC.