Bengaluru FC began their PL Next Gen Cup campaign with a 1-0 defeat against defending champions Stellenbosch FC at the Reliance Corporate Park, in Navi Mumbai, on Wednesday. Antonio van Wyk’s (12’) first half strike was enough for the South African club to emerge victorious and post their first win of the tournament.
Sharon Padattil, whose heroics won the Blue Colts the RF Development League title and him the Man of the Match award in the final, led the side in goal, with Ashik Adhikari, Harpreet Singh, Clarence Fernandes and Felixson Fernandes manning the backline. Shighil NS, Bekey Oram and Damaitphang Lyngdoh started in midfield, while Golden Ball winner Thoi Singh was joined by Harmanpreet Singh and Akashdeep Singh in attack.
The visitors started strongly and took the lead in the 12th minute through van Wyk who dribbled his way into the box before rounding Padattil and slotting home. The Blue Colts had chances of their own but failed to trouble Stellenbosch goalkeeper Jean Ah-Sheane as Evangelos Vellios’ side went in at the break with a narrow lead.
Into the second period, Stellenbosch continued to create chances and came close to doubling their lead in the 52nd minute, when Roy-Keane Avontuuk found himself at the end of a cross from left-back Nande Jojwana, but the forward’s header came off the crossbar.
The Blue Colts continued to manufacture some chances, but couldn’t apply the finishing touch. In goal, Sharon continued to make several saves that kept the Blues in the hunt for a leveler, but it wasn’t to be.
While the additions of Shreyas Ketkar, Amay Morajkar and Satendra Singh did provide some fresh impetus to the Blue Colts in possession, Ambapardiwala’s side ultimately fell short of breaching the Stellenbosch backline.
Bengaluru will look to bounce back to winning ways when they face West Ham United in their next game on Saturday.
Bengaluru FC Media Release