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ISL: Bengaluru FC through to the final after four years

The Blues defeated Mumbai City FC on penalties in the semi-final to book their place in the ISL 2022-23 final.

ISL: Bengaluru FC through to the final after four years

Bengaluru FC (Source: Twitter/ Bengaluru FC)


The Bridge Desk

Published: 12 March 2023 5:22 PM GMT

Bengaluru FC are in the Indian Super League final for the third time in their history after beating Mumbai City via penalties in the semi-final. The last time the Blues had a chance to fight for the trophy was four years back during the 2018-19 season.

They went into the second leg of the semi-final against Mumbai City FC with a one goal advantage, courtesy a Sunil Chhetri in the first-leg back at the Mumbai Arena, and didn't waste time in doubling their lead in the tie after Javi Hernandez scored in the 22nd minute.

Before this, Greg Stewart's penalty was brilliantly saved by goalie Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in the 10th minute of the game.

However, given the Islanders' fighting spirit showcased throughout the season, the League-Shield winners fought back valiantly to balance the scales. Bipin Singh equalised the score in the second leg with his 30th minute strike, before an unlikely candidate in defender Mehtab Singh gave Mumbai a lifeline in the tie with his 66th minute goal.

When neither side could take finish the tie in regulation time, extra time arrived. The 30 minutes flew by quickly as both sides saw chances come their way, but to no avail. Mumbai's forward Jorge Diaz had a couple of chances to bury the game, but his flicks and headers weren't on target.

Even Bengaluru's striker Roy Krishna got a glorious chance to finish the game off, but his looping header was met by Phurba Lachenpa's strong hands. Then, the tie was left to be decided via penalties.

It seemed that the night would be long after both team's players were calmly converting their kicks, until Gurpreet stepped up to the fore and saved Mehtab's penalty during the sudden death. The score was 8-8 at that point in time.

A certain Sandesh Jhingan stepped up next, sent Lachenpa the wrong to bury his shot in the bottom right corner, and ran off to celebrate with his mates as Bengaluru FC was handed the ticket to the final with the defender's strike.

The Blues won the ISL title for the first time in the 2018-19 season when they beat FC Goa, which was also the last time they reached the final. Before that, the side had met Chennaiyin FC in the 2017-18 campaign, but failed to get the better of the Marina Machans.

On Monday, ATK Mohun Bagan and Hyderabad FC will play out their semi-final's second leg to decide who joins buoyant Bengaluru in the final on 18th March.

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