Bengaluru FC squandered a lead of two goals before being held to a 2-2 draw by a young FC Goa side, in a Group A league match of the Indian Oil 131st Durand Cup at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Tuesday.
Bengaluru FC scored twice in a span of two minutes with contributions from captain Sunil Chhetri and substitute Siva Sakthi to establish a healthy lead midway through the first half. Despite fielding a reserve side, FC Goa fought back well to level the score in the second half seeing a goal each from Phrangki Buam and captain Lesly Rebello.
The drawn result did not impact Bengaluru’s fortunes in the tournament as it confirmed a knock-out quarterfinal berth netting seven points from three matches. It remained next to the leader Mohammedan Sporting, which has won all its three matches so far, in the current standings. The group league positions will be finalised in the concluding match on Friday, which will see the top two sides facing each other. The rest of the three sides including defending champion FC Goa (four points from four matches), Jamshedpur FC (three from three) and Indian Air Force (zero from three) are already out of the tournament.
Bengaluru FC started well and enjoyed the majority of the possession. But injury to Congolese forward Prince Ibara, who had to be replaced in the 10th minute, came as a psychological blow to The Blues. Sunil Chhetri opened the scoring process with an inch-perfect freekick in the 24th minute to bring up his third goal of the tournament. Siva Sakthi, who came in for Ibara, doubled the lead after he was reached by an assist from Udanta Singh. Goa returned strongly after the break as Buam made the most of a defensive error to reduce the margin and Rebello fetched the equalizer off a nice combination in the 64th minute.
Group A: Bengaluru FC 2 (Chhetri 24, Siva 26) drew with FC Goa 2 (Buam 53, Rebello 64).