Bengaluru: Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu became the hero as his crucial saves helped Bengaluru FC beat Mumbai City FC in a penalty shootout to advance to the Indian Super League (ISL) final Sunday.
Sandhu saved the penalty shootout at the start of the game and at the end of the shootout as Bengaluru FC won the tiebreaker after the semi-final was tied 2-2 on aggregate, after result 2 -1 from Mumbai City FC after extra time.
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Bengaluru FC beat League Shield winners Mumbai City FC 1-0 in the first leg of the semi-final in Mumbai on 7 March.
After 16 penalties, Sandhu saved Mehtab Singh’s shot before Sandesh Jhingan netted the game-winning kick to give the Blues a 9-8 shootout win.
Bengaluru FC will now face either ATK Mohun Bagan or Hyderabad FC in the ISL final on Saturday.
The home side started the game with confidence but the best chance came to Mumbai City FC within 10 minutes. Sandhu fouled Jorge Diaz in the box to give away a penalty but managed to go the right way when Greg Stewart got up to take it.
Midway through the first half, the Islanders were put further behind in the game. From the left flank, Siva Narayanan fired in a cross for Javi Hernandez, who managed to get past Phurba Lachenpa to make it 2-0 on aggregate.
That goal kicked the Islanders into high gear, and they recovered quickly on the half-hour mark. Sandhu was called into action again, saving Rowlin Borges’ effort at the near post. However, the rebound went straight to an unmarked Bipin Singh, who brought the ball home.
In the 66th minute, Mumbai City FC equalized the semi-final thanks to an imposing header from Mehtab from a corner. Three minutes later, Lachenpa put his fingertips on a Hernandez shot as the game headed into extra time with no other substantial chances for either team.
In added time, both teams had chances they didn’t take advantage of.
Diaz was picked off by Vikram Singh with a low cross but failed to keep him on target from close range. Towards the end of the first period, Roy Krishna’s header was cleared away by Lachenpa, and Mourtada Fall nearly kicked the rebound into his own net but was saved by the post.
In the second half, Pablo Perez nearly capitalized on Lachenpa’s knockdown before recovering to hit him. In the end, Lachenpa again saved the visitors by stopping Alan Costa’s header from flying as the game ended in a penalty shootout and Bengaluru FC held their nerve for victory.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)
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