Skipper Sunil Chhetri's strike helped last-year finalists Bengaluru register a well fought victory over Maziya FC and enter the knockout stages of the AFC Cup at Sree Kanteerava Stadium played on Wednesday at Bengaluru.
In a must-win match to qualify for the next stage, Chettri, who returned to the squad after recovering from an hamstring injury, brought about the goal in 57th minute as he swung the ball into the top corner, much to the delight of the spectators.
In the 75th minute, BFC could have scored their second goal of the match but missed a golden opportunity. Eugeneson Lyngdoh gave a beautiful pass to find Chettri, whose first- time volley was not well connected and the ball went trickling wide of the goal.
Right after the first half, BFC stepped up the gas and missed on an amazing chance after the interplay between CK Vineeth and Chhetri, who teed up Eugene for a shot with the ball rolling towards him sweetly, but his sidefoot was met by a diving defender.
Maziya also had their chances in the second half. They spilled a good chance of scoring an equaliser as Ashadh sent the ball wide of Amrinder in 64th minute. BFC appeared under pressure in a do-or-die match. In the very first ten minutes of the game, Maziya took the sting out of BFC's early attacking plans.
Maziya got two very good chances in 17th and 33rd minutes, but could not find the net on both occasions. In 17th minute, Asadhulla played Yasfaadh Habeeb on the right past Nishu Kumar and went for the goal, but the ball hit the post.
In the 33rd minute, Maziya got another chance through Habeeb, but he kicked the ball straight at Amrinder. In 39th minute, BFC got their first chance after Chhetri finally got into the act as he dribbled in the box to win a corner. The corner was taken poorly as it landed straight outside the box to Ashadh. He charged to counter, but Sandesh Jhingan forced him down cynically, getting booked in the process.