Suresh Singh Wangjam converted two penalty kicks right at the death to secure a dramatic 3-3 draw for Bengaluru FC against Jamshedpur FC in their final game of the Durand Cup at the Saltlake Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday. The midfielder netted in the second and fifth minute of injury time at the end of the second half to secure a valuable point for the Blue Colts, who were trailing 1-3 at the 90-minute mark.
Earlier, Vimal Kumhar (2′) had given Jamshedpur FC the lead before Leon Augustine (45′) leveled scores at the stroke of half time. Aakash Dave (51′) and Nabin Rana (80′) struck for the opponents before Suresh (90+2′,90+5′) netted twice from the spot.
The result meant both sides shared a point each and while Army Red (GD -2) and Jamshedpur FC (GD -6) both ended on two points each alongside Bengaluru FC (GD -1), Naushad Moosa’s boys claim the second spot in Group A owing to a better goal difference.
Going into the game looking for their first win, Moosa opted to make two changes as he handed starts to goalkeeper Dipesh Chauhan and medio Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha in place of Aditya Patra and Ajay Chhetri.
However, the Blue Colts were pegged back right at the start as they conceded inside two minutes from kick-off. Jamshedpur attacker Pukhrambam Manisana did well to make space in the box on the left before sliding a low ball to Vimal Kumhar at the far post and the striker made no mistake, tapping home from close.
While Bengaluru FC were shocked having conceded early, they gathered their composure and began pushing ahead. They dominated proceedings almost completely thereafter, creating multiple chances, but Moosa’s boys were unlucky to have not scored. The woodwork denied Bengaluru FC on three occasions in a fifteen minute spell. First it was Emanuel whose attempt from distance after some good play by Namgyal Bhutia and Naorem Roshan Singh came off the crossbar in the 15th minute.
Seven minutes later it was Edmund Lalrindika who was denied after Biswa Darjee did well to get into the box on the right before cutting it back to the striker whose first-time attempt came off the crossbar. In the 29th minute, it was skipper Roshan whose powerful left-footer came off the horizontal after his effort on a breakaway move came off a defender.
Despite the disappointment, the Blue Colts finally equalised on the stroke of half-time when Leon finally got one past Jamshedpur FC custodian Amrit Gope. Medio Suresh played a short corner to Parag Shrivas on the left and the defender floated in a good cross into the box to find Sairuat Kima who headed the ball down to Leon and the winger sent it home on the slide.
Jamshedpur FC took the lead once again early on in the second half when Aakash Dave’s attempt on a counter attack was deflected past Dipesh in the Bengaluru FC goal. And while the Blue Colts kept pushing ahead in search of an equaliser, another defensive lapse allowed Jamshedpur FC to further increase their lead, as Nabin Rana netted from Pukhrambam’s set up.
While it looked like the game would end 3-1 in favour of the Jharkhand-based side, Moosa’s boys struck twice in injury time to snatch a point. First, Leon was brought down by rival skipper Billu Teli and Suresh stepped up to score from the spot, in what was his second successful penalty conversion in the competition. Minutes later, Leon was once again impeded in the box, this time by keeper Gope and Suresh stepped up once again to complete his brace, taking his tally to three goals in the campaign, all from the spot.