Bengaluru FC made the ultimate comeback with a 5-3 win over Indian Navy to make the quarterfinals of the 130th Durand Cup.
The Indian Navy footballers had a chance, but it wasn’t to be their day. Throughout the 90 minutes, all four teams in Group C had a mathematical chance to qualify.
By the end of the first-half, it was the Indian Navy team leading two-nil against heavyweights Bengaluru FC in what seemed to be heading towards an extraordinary upset.
The Blues looked totally off colour for the first 45 minutes. They missed quite a number of chances to convert and Indian Navy dominated the game for almost the entire half.
In the 19th minute, Jijo took a gorgeous shot from outside the box to take the Sailormen one goal up. A few minutes later, Bengaluru FC had a golden opportunity to equalize when a Harmanpreet cross was well received by Siva Sakthi who took a cross footed shot at the goal but it went over the bar.
In the 30th minute, Sreyas, who has had a very good tournament, scored the second for Navy.
Bengaluru FC looked a different side in the second half. Just a few minutes after half time, a fumble in the Navy goal meant Bengaluru FC’s Leon Augustine had an easy chance to score his team’s first but failed to convert.
However, things changed quickly as Bengaluru FC raised the tempo. A smart turn by Lyngdoh opened up the Navy defence and Leon halved the deficit in the 53rd minute.
Bengaluru FC sailed on their newfound momentum and were drawn back on level terms by Harmanpreet Singh in the 61st minute.
In the 75th minute, Bengaluru FC were awarded a penalty which Ajay Chhetri converted with no mistake and at this point, the game seemed to be slipping away from the Navy.
Harmanpreet got his second of the game in the 81st minute to make it 4-2, essentially ending all hopes of a famous comeback. Thoi Singh added a fifth to make it 5-2 in stoppage time but there was still room for one last goal, with Vijay scoring a consolation goal to end the game 5-3.
All that drama means that it’s Bengaluru FC who top Group C while Indian Navy are out.
Harmanpreet Singh of Bengaluru FC was adjudged to be the Man of the Match.