FULL-TIME: Bengaluru FC 1-0 FC Goa
Bengaluru FC: 117′ Rahul Bheke (Header, Assist: Dimas Delgado).
FC Goa: 105+2′ RED CARD (Ahmed Jahouh)
A combination of steely resolve and fortitude helped Bengaluru FC get the better of FC Goa and clinch the Indian Super League title 2018-19.
The much-anticipated final between the two best sides in the land kicked off with both the teams trying to get a hold of the ball in midfield. In the initial part of the game, the Blues pressed high up the pitch to keep Coro in check. Goa uncharacteristically didn’t have much teeth in the game in the first half and played on the break while Bengaluru managed to get some semblance of control in a crowded midfield.
The midfield congestion meant the teams tried to utilise the wings, but the teams were ineffectual in crossing the ball. Ahmed Jahouh’s standard ball over the top into Jackichand Singh on the flank was nullified to a large extent by the excellent Nishu Kumar.
A few chances fell to both sides in the first half as the teams went into the break scoreless. Brandon Fernandes’ snapshot went wide off the post and Miku was through on goal on a couple of occasions, but couldn’t apply the finish.
The second half saw Goa get on the ball more and find their feet in the game. As the running sum graph indicates, their best period in the game was in the second half up until the 80th minute. But they lacked quality with the final ball and their dominance started to cede as the game threatened to go into extra time.
The Blues came close to scoring with the top shooter tonight Miku hitting the post from six yards out. The Venezuelan had another great chance to score in second half stoppage time – but Mourtada Fall’s block right in front of goal meant the Gaurs would live to see extra time.
The teams went into extra time with Bengaluru enjoying ascendancy in the game while Goa looked bereft of ideas and missed a trick tonight by not bringing in Hugo Boumous late in the second half – the Moroccan’s directness would’ve helped Goa’s search for a goal.
Instead, they were reduced to 10 men after Ahmed Jahouh’s retaliatory challenge on Miku saw him get his second yellow late in the first half of extra time. The goal which would give the Blues the title came in the second half of extra time in the 117th minute. Dimas Delgado’s cross from a corner saw Rahul Bheke get on the end of it with a fantastic looping header in the far corner. The ball went off the post and into the goal to ring home the title for the Blues.
Tonight’s game couldn’t have had more deserving finalists or a more deserving winner. Both Bengaluru FC and FC Goa were level on points, wins, draws, losses at the end of the league season and the final turned out to be an accurate representation of the league standings.
For Bengaluru FC, after losing out in the final against Chennaiyin FC last season, the victory tonight to clinch the title would serve as sweet, sweet redemption.