Bengaluru FC romped into the play-off round of the AFC Cup with a resounding 9-1 (10-1 on aggregate) win over Bhutanese side Paro FC at the Kanteerava Stadium, on Wednesday. Hat-tricks from Semboi Haokip (6’, 26’, 67’ and 85’) and Deshorn Brown (29’, 54’ and 64’) and a goals from Juanan Gonzalez (14’) and Nili Perdomo (79’) saw the Blues cruise past Paro and set up a clash for a spot in the group stages with Maldives side Maziya S&RC.
The win was also the biggest in the Blues’ history, eclipsing the 7-0 defeat of DSK Shivajians in April 2017 when Bengaluru were part of the I-League.
Bengaluru had the perfect start when Haokip, who scored in Thimphu, latched onto a long ball from Erik Paartalu and then made the most from a fumble by Paro ’keeper Tobgay, to stab home and give the Blues a lead in the 6th minute.
Juanan soon made it 2-0 to Bengaluru sending home a firm header after Nili Perdomo swung in his take from the corner in the 14th minute. Just when the Blues seemed to be cruising, Paro struck through a familiar source in Chencho Gyeltshen. The former Bengaluru player picked the ball in the box, lost Gursimrat Gill with a drop of the shoulder and first past Prabhsukhan to make it 2-1 with only sixteen minutes played.
But Bengaluru stuffed out any hopes of an improbable comeback when Haokip scored his second (26’) of the night, and Deshorn Brown made in 4-1 in the 29th minute. Perdomo picked his second assist of the game, floating an inch-perfect ball in the box that Haokip met with a delightful header before directing it home. Brown, meanwhile, scored with a powerful hit from in the box after being set up by Suresh Wangjam.
In the second half, the Blues took off from where they left and both Haokip and Brown got their hat-tricks New signing Nili Perdomo too joined the part with a smart finish in the 79th minute to make it 8-1. Haokip then bagged his fourth of the game, slotting past Tobgay in the 85th minute to complete the rout.
Bengaluru will now travel to the Maldives for the 1st leg of the play-off fixture on the 19th of February before hosting Maziya on the 26th for the reverse leg.