Bengaluru FC rewrote history books to etch their name in the pantheon of India’s best football clubs when they defeated Salgaocar FC 2-0 to win their second I-League title in three years here on Sunday. Eugeneson Lyngdoh’s eighth-minute strike and Seminlen Doungel’s conversion off an exceptional Bengaluru counterattack capped a victorious season for the Blues, who owe their success to Ashley Westwood’s exceptional coaching and a spirited display of football by a bunch of resilient, title-hungry warriors.
Bengaluru, who now have an unassailable 32 points from 15 games, also confirmed their berth in the 2017 AFC Champions League. The Blues next head to Siliguri on April 23 to receive the I-League trophy and a possible guard of honour from defending champions Mohun Bagan in their final game of the season.
The hosts began strong against a Salgaocar squad missing several of their key players but not lacking in aggression. For a Salgaocar defence that was nipping at Bengaluru’s heels, the winner came in the unlikeliest of fashions.
Michael Collins’ long ball to striker Kim Song Yong forced Karanjit Singh to rush out of his position and the Salgaocar ‘keeper just about met it with a punch. The loose ball fell to an unmarked Lyngdoh just outside the box and Bengaluru’s star midfielder made no mistake in slotting it perfectly into the empty nets. The second goal was a display of one of Beng aluru’s biggest strengths -counterattack. A quick one-two with Alwyn George saw skipper Sunil Chhetri burst through the crumbling Salgaocar defence and selflessly pass it to Doungel to tap it into the open goal.