Bengaluru FC suffers loss, out of AFC Cup

Ashgabat:  Bengaluru FC bowed out of AFC Cup after suffering a 0-2 defeat against Altyn Asyr FK of Turkmenistan in the second leg of their Inter-Zone semifinal at the Kopetdag Stadium here on Wednesday.

The Turkmenistan side advanced to the next stage on 5-2 aggregate over the two legs. Bengaluru FC had lost 2-3 at home in the first leg. Second half goals from Altymyrat Annadurdyyev and Vahyt Orazsakhedov settled the tie in favour of the hosts after the ‘Blues’ found the going tough in attack.

¬†Carles Cuadrat made one change to the Bengaluru FC side that faced the Turkmenistan champions at home as Boithang Haokip dropped to the bench in favour of a returning Harmanjot Khabra. Rino Anto and Rahul Bheke joined Spaniard Juanan Gonzalez at the back as Nishu Kumar was pushed forward to add impetus to the Blues’ attack.

The ‘Blues’ had their best chance of the first period in the 38th minute when Miku fed Chhetri on the counter, but the skipper’s foray into the rival box was met with a strong tackle from an Altyn Asyr defender. Shouts for a penalty were waved away as referee Turki Al-Khudair chose to book the Blues’ number 11 instead.

While the first half was an even affair, the hosts struck twice early on in the second to effectively seal the tie. Annadurdyyev scored the opener in the 50th minute with a strike from the edge of the box that BFC keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu struggled to get his hand to. Striker Vahyt Orazsakhedov then added another with his third goal of the tie, tapping home from close, making it 2-0 on the day and 5-2 on aggregate. The Blues return to Bengaluru, where they will prepare for the opener of the 2018-19 Indian Super League, against Chennaiyin FC, at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on September 30.