Bengaluru FC qualified for the semifinals of the AFC Cup by eking out a goalless draw against Tampines Rovers in the second leg at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday.
The win over two legs set up a semifinal date with Cup holders Johor Darul Ta’zim of Malaysia, where the Blues will travel for the first leg on September 28 at the Larkin Stadium.
Coming into the game with a 1-0 result in the home leg, Bengaluru’s best chance came in the 38th minute when a free-kick variation caught the Tampines defence unaware but a sliding Eugeneson Lyngdoh couldn’t get his foot to a pass across the face of the goal from CK Vineeth.
Only a minute later, Jermaine Pennant fluffed his lines from inside the box when the former Arsenal man when he lobbed a half-hearted strike over the Blues’ goal. Earlier, Tampines’ Muhammad Hafiz came close to giving the hosts a lead when he intercepted a poor pass from Nishu Kumar and set off on a free run before his strike drew a save from Amrinder Singh.
The Blues got off to a bright start in the second half and Chhetri could have handed them a vital lead in the 48th minute when he lost a defender in the box before shooting, only for Mohamad Izwan to make a save.
A far cry from the frantic first half that saw them give away possession rather cheaply, the Blues turned up with a far more controlled show that saw them string passes and hold possession for long spells in the game although many of the chances they created were not converted.
Nevertheless, the I-League champions held on to become the only the third club from India to make it this far in the competition alongside Dempo SC and East Bengal.