Bengaluru lose to Maziya in AFC Cup playoff tie but come away with crucial away goal
Bengaluru FC slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Maldivian side Maziya S&RC in a Playoff Round first leg clash of the 2020 AFC Cup, at the Maldives National Football Stadium, in Male, on Wednesday. Despite the loss, the Blue will be taking home a crucial away goal in the return leg.
The match began with the Carles Cuadrat's men on the front foot but the home team weathered the storm and came back into the contest in the latter part of the second half. Despite a few chances at both ends, the first half ended goalless.
After a tightly-contested first fifteen minutes or so in the second half, Bengaluru's Erik Paartalu hit the crossbar with a header in the 63rd minute. Having been let off the hook, Maziya responded with a goal seconds later. Striker Ibrahim Mahudhee received the ball in the midfield and curled one past Bengaluru custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to give his team the all-important lead.
The first goal gave the home team a big boost as they started to threaten the Bengaluru backline more frequently, but it was the Blues who struck next. Maziya's Sharif Mukhammad fouled Bengaluru striker Deshorn Brown in the box, prompting the referee to point to the spot. Francisco Borges converted the penalty to draw Bengaluru level.
The equalizer set up an intriguing finish to the contest as both sides traded chances in the quest for the winner. It was Maziya who found the eventual winner in the 80th minute. Cornelius Stewart weaved his way past the Blues backline and slotted past Gurpreet to make it 2-1. Despite Bengaluru's best efforts to draw level yet again, the match ended with the same scoreline.
Despite the loss, the away goal gives the Blues a good chance of overturning the deficit in the return leg to be played at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on 26th February.