Bengaluru FC put up a precise performance here on Sunday to beat Salgaocar SC 2-0 and claim their second I-league trophy in three years.
Needing a victory to clinch the title, they were propelled by two strikes in either half by Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Seminlen Doungel at the Kanteerava stadium. Their maiden I-League title was in their debut season in 2013.
Bengaluru have 32 points from 15 matches. Second-placed Mohun Bagan, the outgoing title holders, have 27 points from as many matches. Salgaocar are sixth with 16 points from 15 games.
Bengaluru were scheduled to clash against Mohun Bagan away at Siliguri on April 23rd in what was potentially a blockbuster title decider. But Sunday’s win renders that match purposeless.
Bengaluru began aggressively looking to pick up an early goal that would have helped in settling their nerves. And Lyngdoh did just that in the eighth minute, shooting from 25 yards catching Karanjit Singh out of position after the Salgaocar goalkeeper effected a partial clearance.
Salgaocar were forced to come forward and they threatened to score several times. Bengaluru remained active with India captain Sunil Chhetri in the thick of things.
Bengaluru remained 1-0 ahead at the break.
They remained alert though Salgaocar’s midfielder Jakichand Singh posed them a few problems after half-time.
The match was heading towards Bengaluru’s favour but after Doungel scored the insurance goal in the 87th minute to ensure all three points and the championship for coach Ashley Westwood’s men.
Chhetri did the hard work, breaking down the left flank to open up the Salgaocar defence. He squared for Doungel to complete the move with a regulation tap-in to start the celebrations.
Salgaocar defender Thangjam Singh’s dejection got the better off hi as he lost his composure to receive a second booking, adding insult to injury for the Goan side.
In Mumbai, Mumbai FC defeated Shillong Lajong FC 2-1 in a relegation battle at the Cooperage Ground in another clash.
Mumbai FC broke the deadlock in the 41st minute through veteran Steven Dias who scored with a free-kick. Mumbai lead 1-0 at the break.
Lajong equalised through a Fabio Penna penalty conversion after Penn Orji was fouled inside the box in the 54th minute.
But Mumbai had the last laugh when Minchol Son headed home a corner in the 86th minute to secure all three points.
Mumbai jumped to seventh with 16 points from 15 matches. Lajong dropped to the bottom with 15 from 15.