Bengaluru FC overcome Sudeva Delhi FC on penalties to clinch RF Development League title!

A sensational campaign from Bengaluru FC in the RF Development League had its crowning moment as the Blue Colts defeated Sudeva Delhi FC 4-3 in the penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw in regulation time. Thoi Singh (23′) and Satendra Singh (67′) scored to bring the Blue Colts level on two separate occasions after Seilenthang Lotjem (17′) and Daniel Gurung (48′) put Sudeva Delhi FC ahead.

Ahead of the game, Bengaluru FC head coach Kaizad Ambapardiwala made two changes to the Blue Colts’ frontline, with Akashdeep Singh and Harmanpreet Singh replacing Satendra Singh and Monirul Molla. Sudeva Delhi FC, who had Chungkham Jackson sent off in the last game, also made two changes to their line-up.

The defending champions made a strong start and came close to opening the scoring within the seventh minute when Damaitphang Lyngdoh found Bekey Oram behind the Sudeva Delhi FC defence, but ‘keeper Sachin Jha was alert to the danger and quickly threw himself at the ball to thwart Bekey’s attempt at a shot.

But, it was the visitors who took the lead, against the run of play, in the 17th minute, when Seilenthang Lotjem finished a counter-attacking move from Chencho Dorji’s side. The forward was set through by Phoenix Oinam before sneaking his shot past Sharon Padattil to put the visitors ahead.

But the lead did not last long as Bengaluru FC won a penalty in the 22nd minute, after Akashdeep Singh was brought down by Kamginsei Touthang. Up stepped Thoi, who nestled his shot into the top right corner, giving Sachin no chance despite the Sudeva Delhi FC ‘keeper diving the right way.

Ambapardiwala’s side continued to create more chances and test Dorji’s backline but were denied by Sachin’s efforts which helped Sudeva maintain parity in the game.

Into the second period, Daniel Gurung got at the end of a long pass from Lotjem before scoring past Sharon to put his side in the lead once again. A few minutes later, Harmanpreet and Bekey very nearly combined to bring Bengaluru FC back into the game before Bekey’s shot from the edge of the box, following a cut back from Harmanpreet, ricocheted off the crossbar.

But the constant efforts of Ambapardiwala’s side bore fruit past the hour mark, when Satendra made an incisive run of nearly 30 yards through the Sudeva midfield before unleashing a powerful shot that burst through Sachin’s hands, to bring the Blue Colts level.

Harmanpreet was unlucky not to put the Blue Colts in the lead, when his shot from the edge of the box deflected off the post with 10 minutes to go. Ultimately, both teams could not find a winner within regulation time as the game moved into the penalty shootout.

After both teams scored their first three strikes, Sharon dived the right way to deny Karthik Panicker and Ramesh Chhetri and send Bengaluru on their way to the title.

The Blue Colts were crowned RF Development League champions for a second successive season and will now prepare for the PL Next Gen Cup, with their first clash against Stellenbosch FC, on Wednesday in Mumbai.

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