SCORE: Bengaluru 3-0 NorthEast United (Aggregate 4-2)
FULL-TIME: Thoughts go out to the NorthEast side who put in an absolutely resolute shift for 70-odd minutes. They were ravaged by injuries but they made a good fight out of it. Then Udanta, Miku, Chhetri and Dimas stepped up for BFC to make it a comfortable win for the Blues in the end. The first finalists of the fifth season is BFC and they are all set for a mouth-watering final against Goa, who should win on Tuesday. Time for the Blues to celebrate with their fans.
FULL-TIME, BENGALURU FC WIN 3-0: And the Blues go marching into the final of the ISL for the second year running.
After 95 minutes, BFC 3-0 NEUFC: A heroic late block from Nishu who has been brilliant. Corner is gathered by Gurpreet.
After 95 minutes, BFC 3-0 NEUFC: Boithang Haokip is on for Chhetri. The armband goes to Dimas Delgado. Minutes away from a famous Blues win.
90+2’: GOALLLLLLLLL! SUNIL CHHETRI!!!! The man deilvers the final nail in the NorthEast coffin. Miku sends Chhetri through with a through ball (offside? not clear) and the Indian captain is on his bike, has hall the time to round-up the goalkeeper and slots the ball in. He is all smiles!
9.19 pm: Six minutes added on. Six minutes for Bengaluru to hold on and for NorthEast to score once.
After 88 minutes, Bengaluru 2-0 NorthEast: WHAT A COUNTER! Udanta did brilliantly well to latch on to the ball from the corner and ran the length of the field. It looked like he missed the chance though and then he chips a cross across that is parried away by Pawan (and the crossbar). Falls to Dimas kindly and he slots it into an empty net. He is down injured for a few minutes but carries on. NEUFC need a goal to force Extra Time.
86th minute: GOALLLLLLLLL! DIMAS PUTS BFC 2-0 UP!!
After 86 minutes, Bengaluru 1-0 NorthEast: BFC trying to run down the clock with possession. NEUFC have a corner late in the game, their 5th of the match. Dangerous ball, cleared away. Counter is on!
After 83 minutes, Bengaluru 1-0 NorthEast: Reagan Singh is replaced by Nikhil Kadam for NorthEast’s final change. BFC make a change too as Xisco (who’s away goal is proving decisive at the moment) is off and Albert Serran comes on. Cuadrat is shoring up his defence. Will that backfire? A NorthEast goal will change things big time.
After 79 minutes, Bengaluru 1-0 NorthEast: Big penalty appeal from BFC! Udanta seems to be fouled inside the box and there is contact but the winger might have put the foot in the path of the defender and made it look like a foul. The commentators think it’s a penalty but it is not as nailed down as they make it sound. Dimas is then yellow-carded after a poor pass from Bheke in BFC defence. Nervy moments all around.
After 75 minutes, Bengaluru 1-0 NorthEast: The fortress is bouncing now. Udanta almost goes close to making it 2-0 down the right after a superb through ball from Miku. Corner is cleared. Can NEUFC score now?
72nd minute: GOALLLLLLLLLL, BFC!!! MIKU SCORES! FINALLY! A cross from the right from Udanta, Miku makes a run ahead of the defender and gets a boot to it, to deflect one into the net. His toughest chance of the night, he converts!!!
Substitutions: (0-0 after 70 mins)
For NorthEast United FC: Lalrempuia Fanai out and Shouvik Ghosh in.
For Bengaluru FC: Juanan out and Luis Lopez in.
After 67 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: CHANCE BFC! From a setpiece, Juanan with a miss. The ball falls kindly to the Spanish centre back in the box but he cannot get it into the net. He is replaced almost immediately by Luisma Villa. Earlier, Triadis takes a free-kick from a good position for NEUFC but it goes just wide of the post. The scores are still level. The visitors starting to show signs of tiring.
After 60 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: After a few mins of NorthEast playing with 10, Triadis replaces Gallego after that nasty injury. 30 mins left now, and frustration builds for BFC.
After 56 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: Oh dear. Not a good sign, Gallego got a big blow on the shin and he has been down for a while. and there is an ambulance on the pitch. He is being stretchered off and that is it for him. A heroic block, and his night is done. Another injury blow for NorthEast.
After 55 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: Miku released down the left flank by Xisco but with enough support in the center, the Venezuelan goes at it alone and dabbles with it too long, Gallego puts in a superb challenge. Break in play due to an injury with both Miku and Gallego down.
After 51 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: CLOSE!! BFC have once started brightly, Pawan Kumar called into action by an attempt from Xisco from a corner. Another corner comes in, Nishu lets fly from a distance and it’s a fierce shot on target, Kumar saves again! Would have been some goal that.
8.33 pm: NorthEast are still on course to go through to the final. BFC, despite having the chances, have not converted a single one with Miku being the primary culprit. The second half is now underway...
HALF TIME: Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast
As it stands, NorthEast will go through to their maiden ISL final. Could that really happen? On the first half evidence, oh yes. BFC were by far the better team overall, but Miku missed chance after chance while NEUFC had a couple of their own as well. They have defended alright so far and are 45 minutes of not conceding away from stunning the table-toppers.
After 44 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: Mascia with a shot from outside the box, but Gurpreet makes a good save to his right. First half is drawing to a close.
After 42 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: Nishu has been so influential down the left for BFC. He is released down the left by Chhetri but he cannot cut the ball back in time. Break in play after Pawan Kumar goes down after contact from Miku, from a Nishu cross.
After 38 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: The game is a bit more open now than it was in the opening exchanges. If the score remains 0-0 for long, frustration will increase for BFC.
After 33 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: ANOTHER MISS, MIKU!
That could have been one of the goals of the season, but instead it’s another massive miss from Miku. He dances past defenders from the right flank, comes all the way to the penalty area and makes space for himself and then.... tamely hits it at the goalkeeper. Bizarre moment.
After 25 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: ANOTHER BIG CHANCE BFC! BIG MISS FROM MIKU!
Twice in the space of a few mins, Miku has missed two massive chances. Khabra releases Udanta down the right channel and he cuts the ball back to Miku brilliantly. With time and space, Miku sweeps it high and wide. That was a sitter.
After 20 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: BIG CHANCE BFC! Oh what a cross from Nishu from the left flank. It finds Miku in space just a couple of yards away from goal. And the tall striker stoops down, sends a glancing header wide. Had to hit the target there! Big, big, miss.
After 20 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: NEUFC are not just sitting back all the time, here. A corner, followed by a free kick from the right flank (after a foul by Chhetri) and they threaten from both set-pieces. Another burst down the right flank from Gallego and another corner, cleared for now. This is good stuff from the visitors.
After 15 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: BFC have wrestled back control in terms of possession. A theatrical reaction from Xisco earns them a free kick, a unique chip-routine results in a corner for BFC that is wasted.
After 8 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: CHANCE NORTHEAST! BFC lose the ball in the midfield after a long spell of possession and Mascia gets a shot off from a tight angle after making a run down the right. Gurpreet saves. Lax from BFC, that would have been mighty costly. Xisco shoots wide down the other end.
After 3 minutes, Bengaluru 0-0 NorthEast: Not surprisingly, BFC have started on the front foot. Ominous signs for the visitors. Chhetri puts in a delicious cross from the left flank, cleared away by Keegan.
7.30 pm: We have kick-off!
7.27 pm: National anthem is done. We are minutes away from the kick-off...
JUST IN: More injury woes for NorthEast. Stand-in captain Robert Lalthlamuana is out due to injury while training. Keegan Pereira replaces Roberth and Mato Grgic is set to wear the captain’s armband.
7.19 pm: Here’s the head-to-head between NorthEast United FC and Bengaluru FC
7.13 pm: BFC coach Carles Cuadrat was very unhappy with the refereeing in the first leg of the semifinal, because of the late penalty. He went on to say that NEUFC have consistently manipulated the referees throughout the season. That adds an edge to tonight’s clash.
“I am a football man and I can see things. Maybe the referee thinks.. 20,000 people in the stadium... let me give it. Maybe he wants that.. 20,000 people clapping. To me, it was a mistake to end that game with a penalty,” he had said on Sunday.
All eyes will be on the refereeing tonight then.
07.08 pm: Bengaluru have the away goal, they have a vociferous home support, they have India’s talisman in Sunil Chhetri. NorthEast United FC, however, have the lead in the tie. Which way is this match going to go?
07.03 pm: With Ogbeche out, NorthEast will look towards Federico Gallego for inspiration with the industrious Uruguayan playmaker being one of the driving forces behind the side’s march to the play-offs.
Gallego’s partnership with his compatriot Juan Mascia up top will be crucial to the visitors’ chances with the latter likely to start in Ogbeche’s absence after his late winner from the penalty spot in Guwahati.
6.58 pm: With the first leg in Guwahati having ended in a 2-1 win for the Highlanders, a 1-0 victory will be enough to send the Blues through to the final because of the away goal rule.
On the other hand, a draw will favour NorthEast. A 2-1 result for the home team will send the fixture to extra time, while NorthEast scoring more than a goal will need Bengaluru to triumph by two goals or more to secure a spot in the final.
6.53 pm: The line-ups are in...
NorthEast United FC:
Pawan Kumar (GK), Janeiler Rivas, Reagan Singh, Mato Grgic, Robert Lalthlamuana (C), Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Redeem Tlang, Federico Gallego, Lalrempuia Fanai, Jose Leudo, Juan Mascia.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Rahul Bheke, Juanan, Harmanjot Khabra, Nishu Kumar, Dimas Delgado, Xisco Hernandez, Udanta Singh, Alejandro Garcia Barrera, Sunil Chhetri (C), Miku.
6.50 pm: Hello all and welcome to the live blog of what promises to be a gripping game at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, where Bengaluru FC host NorthEast United FC in the second leg of the first semi-final in the Indian Super League.
Bengaluru FC have fought and won many battles at home but the biggest one awaits them on Monday night at the place they call The Fortress.
Teams think twice before dreaming of picking up points here; many have tried and failed, and several times in the past Bengaluru have shown that they can rise to the occasion. Will they rise one final time at home this season in the ISL?
They need the full points here. They need to keep their reputation intact as they face NorthEast United FC in the decisive second leg semi-final.
In what was a game of two halves at Guwahati in the first leg, Carles Cuadrat and his men were handed a 1-2 loss by the Highlanders. The defeat meant the Blues’ poor run of late has continued with their last five fixtures yielding just the single victory and three defeats. A draw now won’t do as they look to go one better than last season’s second-place finish.
Kickoff is at 1930 hrs IST.