Bengaluru FC lived up to the billing and won the Airtel I-League after slaying Dempo Sports Club 4-2 at the Nehru Stadium, Goa, on Monday (April 21, 2014).
Needing a win to snatch the title from right under everyone’s nose, Bengaluru FC led from start to finish. Once Sean Rooney had given them a dream start in the second minute, there was no looking back. Dempo threatened a brief fight back but that was not enough to thwart Bengaluru.
The win helped Bengaluru FC accumulate 44 points and take an unassailable lead with one round still to be played. The likes of East Bengal and Salgaocar Football Club will play for the second and third spot.
All India Football Federation Gen Secy Mr. Kushal Das congratulated Bengaluru FC on winning the Airtel I-League 2013-14.
“Congratulations Bengaluru FC. You are the deserving Champions. Enjoy the moment,” Mr. Das stated.
Airtel I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said: “They may have been the new entrants but have led the way and paved the path for all to tread in the future. Congratulations!” he told www.i-league.org.
Bengaluru FC needed a win from any of their last two matches to emerge triumphant but it was clear that they would not leave anything to chance in the end. Robin Singh put the visitors ahead in the second minute itself and from there itself, they had a comfortable outing.
Robin Singh scored in the 56th minute to give his team a 2-0 lead. With ten minutes left to be played, Bengaluru put the issue beyond doubt when John Menyongar made it 3-0 and put the issue well out of reach.
There was brief drama when Brazilian midfielder Roberto Mendes da Silva pulled a goal back for Dempo in the 82nd minute and Romeo Fernandes then scrambled home to make it 2-3. But nerves were effectively settled by India and Bengaluru FC Captain Sunil Chhetri who scored Bengaluru’s fourth goal of the evening.
Coach Ashley Westwood was suspended for the game and assistant coach Pradyum Reddy took charge in the dugout. But Westwood had done enough in pre-match preparations to help his team sail through.
They started in a flurry when Rooney gave them a second minute lead. Captain Chhetri took a quick throw in to Robin, whose shot across the goal was met with glee by Rooney past a bewildered Dempo defence.
Dempo did not have a single shot on goal for most part of the first half and goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani had to make a double-save to keep Robin Singh quiet from a blistering quick counter-attack.