Sunil Chhetri lifted the Federation Cup for Bengaluru FC

MARGAO: Sunil Chhetri lifted the Federation Cup for the first time in his long career on Sunday. The India captain not only scored the first goal for his team but also shared the top-scorer’s honours with Dempo’s Tolgay Ozbey.

Sunil Chhetri lifted the Federation Cup for Bengaluru FC
Sunil Chhetri

And in doing so, Chhetri also became the first Indian player to finish as (joint) top scorer in both I-League as well as the following Federation Cup.

“I’m part of a very good team. We performed as a team. Every goal was a collective effort and we celebrated it as a team effort. We play as a team and we score as a team. That’s our key to success,” Chhetri said after the match.

Coach Ashley Westwood said, “We always wanted to show (to our critics) that winning the I-League last season was not a fluke. By winning the Federation Cup, we have proved that we are a good side and we are going in the right direction. The team’s efforts in the last couple of weeks, not just today, have been magnificent. – timesofindia

Margao: Bengaluru FC lifted their maiden Federation Cup football tournament title when they edged past 10-man Dempo FC 2-1 in the summit clash here on Sunday.

Sunil Chhetri (10th minute) and substitute Robin Singh (65th) scored for the winners while Tolgay Ozbey (45+4) pulled one back for the home team at Nehru Stadium at Fatorda here.

This was the second major title for Bengaluru FC in their two years of existence. They have won the I-League last season.

For Dempo FC, who won the title in 2004, they finished runners-up for the fifth time.

Bengaluru FC defender Curtis Osano was declared the Hero of the Match and was awarded Rs 10,000. Dempo’s Romeo Fernandes, who scored four goals, was named Hero of the Tournament and earned Rs one lakh.

Both the teams came into this match with unbeaten records and there was not much to separate between the two teams till the hour mark.

But the complexion of the game changed after Bengaluru FC took the lead, which turned out to be the match-winner, in the 65th minute and then Dempo were reduced to 10 men three minutes later as defender Rowilson Rodrigues was shown a direct red card by referee Pratap Singh for a dangerous foul on Thoi Singh.

The match started at a slow pace but Bengaluru FC took the early lead as they earned a penalty after Dempo defender Haroon Fakhruddin pushed Eugenseson Lyngdoh down inside the box while going for an aerial ball from a flag kick taken on the left.

Chhetri did not make any mistake from the spot, beating keeper Laxmikant Kattimani to his right to score his sixth goal of the tournament.

Dempo FC were unlucky not to earn a penalty midway in the first half as referee Pratap apparently did not see defender John Johnson elbowing Romeo Fernandes inside the Bengaluru box.

Dempo striker Tolgay Ozbey, who was equal with Chhetri on five goals coming into this match, got a chance but his effort missed the target by a whisker.

Dempo’s persistent attack finally paid off as they earned a penalty in the stoppage time of the first half. John Johnson blocked Haroon Fakhruddin inside the box as he was running for the ball and the referee awarded the penalty.

Tolgay Ozbey took the penalty and blasted the ball to the right of keeper Lalthuammawia Ralte to score his sixth goal and remain on equal terms with Chhetri as both the team went 1-1 at half time.

Bengaluru started better in the second session and enjoyed better ball possession and took the lead in the 65th minute when a move on the right saw Thoi Singh send a measured cross for substitute Robin Singh to nod home a powerful header past a diving Laxmikant Kattimani.

Dempo suffered a double blow three minutes later when defender Rowilson Rodrigues was shown a direct red card by the referee for a dangerous foul on Thoi Singh.

The visitors, who enjoyed the numerical advantage, had a couple of close chances to increase the lead but first a Chhetri header was saved by the keeper by diving to his left and then Francis Fernandes made a goal-line save.

Dempo nearly equalised from a counter attack but substitute Holicharan Nazaray, who was unmarked inside the box, failed to score off a cross from the left by Haroon Fakhurddin.

Dempo repeatedly found themselves under pressure in the last 10 minutes with Francis Fernandes once again making a goal-line save off Sean Rooney’s header after the keeper was beaten. – sports.ndtv

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