It was a heartbreaking end to what was a historic campaign for Bengaluru FC as they went down 0-2 to Minerva Punjab FC in the final of the Hero Junior League at the Kalyani Stadium in Kolkata, on Wednesday.
In a game that they dominated from the very beginning, two counter-attacks hurt the Blue Colts as strikes from Himanshu Jangra (48’) and Tongbram Singh (65’) handed them their first defeat of the campaign in the summit clash. For the record, it was also the first time that Bengaluru conceded in the competition, having netted 89 in 12 consecutive wins leading up to the final.
Bengaluru FC began the first half on the offensive and created most of the close chances but poor finishing cost them as Lalthangliana and Rakesh Meitei both lacked the killer touch in the rival box.
After a goalless first half, the deadlock was broken in the 48th minute by Minerva, when striker Himanshu slid it past BFC custodian Dipesh Chauhan from the edge of the box against the run of play.
Minvera then doubled their lead in the 65th minute when Tongbram Singh netted from close. A quick counter saw the ball find Lhunminthang on the right and while his low cross was blocked by Dipesh in the BFC goal, the stray ball bounced to Tongbram who managed to get a header. While the first attempt came off the crossbar, the rebound was finally headed home by the attacker to effectively seal the game.
Bengaluru kept on pushing throughout the final thirty-odd minutes but failed to break down the Minerva backline who defended deep. The Blue Colts however ended the game with ten men when winger Manish Chaudhary was sent off for dissent in the third minute of injury time.