Aizawl, Jan 16 (IANS) A solitary goal by Curtis Osano was enough to gift Bengaluru Football Club (BFC) a 1-0 win against a spirited Aizawl FC in an I-League encounter at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Saturday. Osano (26th minute) headed in off a free-kick in the first half as the former champions registered their second win of the season in as many games.
It was the first-ever I-League match to be hosted in Mizoram and the hosts seemed eager to live up to the occasion as they started out on an attacking note. BFC coach Ashley Westwood made just one change to the starting XI that beat Salgaocar in their first match bringing in Udanta Singh for Malsawmzuala.
The nippy winger justified his coach’s faith in him by playing a crucial role as Bengaluru scored against the run of play. Udanta’s pace on the flanks saw him win a free-kick as a result of a foul by Chullova. Keegan Periera’s delivery found Osano inside the penalty box thanks to a fumble by Aizawl goalkeeper Soram Poirei and the Kenyan made no mistake, bulging the net with a fine header. The hosts had their best chance of the game after the half-hour mark when Ruatthara headed a corner by Lalbhiakhlua on to the far post.
Although the visitors enjoyed more ball possession, Aizawl continued to attack but the BFC defence managed to absorb the pressure. Westwood tweaked the formation a bit and introduced another local boy in Malsawmzuala who came on for Udanta at the start of the second half, in a bid to seize more control. The hosts came out hard and created several chances in the second half.
But goalkeeper Thuammawia produced a series of fine saves while John Johnson and Osano made all the right interceptions and won most of the aerial duels as the BFC citadel remained unscathed. With 10 minutes left, Bengaluru’s C.K. Vineeth had the best chance to close the game after being set up by Kim’s header only to inexplicably shoot wide from five yards out. The 2014 champions mellowed down the pace towards the end as Aizawl were unable to find the equaliser despite enjoying superior ball possession.