Bengaluru FC B were crowned champions of the inaugural edition of the Reliance Foundation Development League following a goalless draw against second-placed Kerala Blasters, in Benaulim, Goa, on Thursday. The result comes after six successive wins in the competition for the Blue Colts, who ended their campaign as the only unbeaten side in the League.
Earlier, Naushad Moosa made one change to the team that faced Jamshedpur FC, with Shighil NS replacing Kamalesh Palanisamy in midfield. Kerala Blasters, meanwhile, rolled out the same side that ran out 4-0 winners against RFYC earlier this week, with Mohammed Aimen, Nihal Sudheesh and Givson Singh in attack.
The game got off to a cagey start, as both sides kept possession for large parts in a bid to find space behind the opposition backline. Sharon Padattil was forced into a save early on when Aimen managed to get a shot away, but the Blue Colts’ custodian was equal to it. Damaitphang Lyngdoh had Bengaluru’s best chance of the first half, but his attempt from the edge of the box following a counter-attack came crashing back into play off the crossbar.
Into the second period, Moosa rang in two changes as Lalremtluanga Fanai and Sharon were replaced by Omega Vanlalhruaitluanga and Dipesh Chauhan. Eager to go for the three points, the Blue Colts rang in two more changes as Bekey Oram and Rahul Raju were replaced by Thoi Singh and Sivasakthi Narayanan.
Bengaluru were pushed back into their own half for most parts of the second period, and continued to thwart Kerala attacks throughout the game. With fifteen minutes left to play, Tomasz Tchorz’s side came close to taking the lead when Vincy Barretto skipped past Dipesh and set up Aimen for the finish. However, Jagdeep recovered well and was perfectly placed to clear the striker’s effort off the line.
Moosa sent on Kamalesh in place of Lyngdoh for the final minutes of regulation time as the Blue Colts saw out the ninety, claimed a point and with it, the title.
Bengaluru striker Rahul Raju, with seven goals to his name in the competition, was named top-scorer of the tournament. For his consistent performances throughout the tournament, Bekey Oram was handed the Golden Ball while Amay Morajkar was named man of the match for his display in the final League encounter.