Bengaluru Football Club (BFC) played out a creditable goalless draw against 4.25 SC of North Korea to make it to the Inter-Zone Finals of the AFC Cup on 3-0 aggregate on Wednesday, reported PTI.
Last year’s runners-up, Bengaluru went into Inter-Zone semi-final match with a 3-0 lead from the home leg last month and produced a solid performance to deny the home side any goal at the May Day Stadium.
They will now face Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol, the 2015 finalists, in the two-legged Inter-Zone Finals. Istiklol had beaten Ceres Negros FC of Philippines on 5-1 aggregate in the other Inter-Zone semi-finals.
Bengaluru will travel to Tajikistan on September 27 before they host Istiklol in the decisive Inter-Zone Final second leg at Sree Kanteerava Stadium on October 18. The winner of that match will face either Syria’s Al Wahda or Air Force Club of Iraq in the 2017 AFC Cup final on November 4.
Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who joined Bengaluru last month only, was the hero for the visiting side as he saved a penalty kick in the 75th minute of the match.
Head coach Alberto Roca named an unchanged XI from their 3-0 first-leg win in Bengaluru as he persisted with the 4-3-3 formation with Udanta Singh, Sunil Chhetri and Toni Dovale as the front-three.
“They dominated majority of the game and deserved to win. But at the same time, we defended very well as a team and managed to hold on to our lead from the first leg. We are happy to have made it through and now look to get back to Bengaluru and prepare for the big game against FC Istiklol,” said Roca.
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