Robin Yadav found the back of the net with an incredible second half free-kick and substitute Lalpekhlua added another late in regulation time as Bengaluru FC claimed a 2-0 win against Gokulam Kerala FC in their final Group C encounter of the 2023 Durand Cup, at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Tuesday. The result saw the Blue Colts finish second in the standings, one point behind qualifiers Gokulam and one ahead of Kerala Blasters FC.
Blue Colts’ boss Bibiano Fernandes made two changes to his side as Sahil Poonia replaced Amrit Gope, while Salam Johnson Singh made way for Satendra Singh down the flank. Gokulam, meanwhile, started with Cameroonian centre-half Aminou Bouba in defence while Sourav and Shijin manned the attack.
The fixture got off to a cagey start as both sides looked to get a foothold on proceedings. Bengaluru pushed forward down the flanks with Edmund Lalrindika looking lively down the left, but a resolute Gokulam kept the Blue Colts at bay. The best chance of the first period fell the way of Fernandes’ side when Patre’s cross was swung in for Yadav, but the defender couldn’t get his header away.
Bengaluru took the lead just shy of the hour mark when Yadav swung in a set-piece beyond the reach of Bishorjit in the Gokulam goal, after Lalrindika was fouled five yards outside the area. The visitors looked to respond immediately with substitute and former Bengaluru man Nili Perdomo dribbling past his marker and having a hit, but the Spaniard saw his effort saved well by Blue Colts’ custodian Sahil Poonia.
Fernandes made changes to his side as Ashish Jha made way for Monirul Molla, before withdrawing Bekey Oram, Edmund Lalrindika and Harsh Patre for Lalremtluanga Fanai, Ankith Padmanabhan and Lalpekhlua. The Blue Colts continued to push forward, with Molla and Lalpekhlua combining well in the final third.
Into the closing stages, Molla, having beaten Bouba with a clever flick down the right flank, drove his way into the box and squared a neat pass for Lalpekhlua to tap home with ease and add to Bengaluru’s lead.
The result, which drew the curtains to the Blue Colts’ campaign in Kolkata, meant Fernandes’ side walked away from the group as its only unbeaten side, with one win and two draws.
Bengaluru FC Media Release