Indian Champions Bengaluru FC went down in the AFC Champions League Qualifier as they lost 2-1 to the champions of Jordan, Al Wehdat in the match held at King Abdullah International Stadium, Amman in Jordan.
Jordanas Al Wehdat shall face UAEas Al Wahda in the play-off round in order to book a berth in the group stages of the AFC Champions League. They won it 2-1 with goals from Ahmad Maher and Bahaa Faisal. Sunil Chhetri did pull one back for the Bengaluru teamAbut the score-line could have been far worse had it not been for the wastefulness of the Wehdat players.
Al Wehdat lined-up in a 4-4-2 formation with Ahmad Maher and Bahaa Faisal leading the line. On the other hand,AAlbert Rocaas 5-2-3 had Johnson, Juan, Ralte, Khabra and Udanta in defence with Lenny and Cameron in midfield, while Chhetri, Lyngdoh and Vineeth formed the Bluesa attack.
The home team began the match on Aa strong note and were creating chances at will. From a free-kick in the 15th minute by Amara, Tareq Zeyad saw his header go over the bar. Hassan Fattah and Rajaei Fadel had a couple of shots which saw Amrinder being called into action. Bengaluru were happy to stand back and soak in the pressure as they Aplayed a deep line.
Midway into the half, Sena Ralte couldnat track the run of Amara which saw the latter almost through on goal before Johnson averted the danger by clearing in time. The Jordanians were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty in the 39th minute. Chhetri pushed Amara on the back inside the box but the referee wasnat interested.
Bengaluru’s Defensive Approach
Bengaluru FC’s defensive plan worked for the first half but they could not contain the home side in the second half.The deadlock was finally broken just 3 minutes after the restart whenAAmaraas cross was cleared by Juanan but only as far as the Maher who scored with his second touch.
Fattah was being allowed to dictate play from the middle of the park with Lenny Rodrigues being ineffective. They struggled to win possession and when they did, couldnat create any goal scoring opportunities. John Johnson was substituted in the 54th minute for Keegan Pereira, who was making his first competitive debut for Bengaluru under Albert Roca.
Wehdat doubled their lead when Sena Ralte pushed Faisal in an off the ball incident which saw Bahaa Faisal dispatch the awarded spot-kick cleanly even though Amrinder guessed it right.
The Blues were handed a lifeline when Chhetri headed home from a Cameron Watson corner as the Jordanian teamas defence failed to mark the Bengaluru skipper.
The best chance for Bengaluru to equalise came in the 82nd minute when Udanta Singhas cross from the right saw Vineeth slam his effort over the bar from inside the box.
Ahmad Elias ran past two Bengaluru players and his effort was kept out by Amrinder in the 89th minute. The ref finally brought an end to the game and Bengaluru’s chances of getting into the AFC Champions League group stage came to an end with that too.
Bengaluru FC shall now play in the AFC Cup Group E where they are placed alongside Maziya (Maldives), Abahani Limited (Bangladesh) and one of the following teams shall complete the cluster a Timpu (Bhutan), Valencia (Maldives) AMohun Bagan (India) and Colombo (Sri Lanka).