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A Look Back at Bengaluru FC's Journey to AFC Cup 2016 Final

A Look Back at Bengaluru FC's Journey to AFC Cup 2016 Final

The AFC Cup is upon us as the playoff rounds begin from as early as tomorrow (April 7). This year, two Indian clubs will be participating in this year's AFC Cup, ATK Mohun Bagan will play directly from the group stages while Bengaluru FC will have to go through the preliminary rounds to make it to the group stages.

Talking about Bengaluru FC, it is the only club from India that has played in the grand final of the AFC Cup when they reached the final in the 2016 edition of the AFC Cup.

Today, will take you on a flashback and will have a look at their successful AFC Cup campaign.

A Look Back at Bengaluru FC's Journey to AFC Cup 2016 Final:

Two Indian clubs represented India in the AFC Cup 2016. The two clubs were Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC. Mohun Bagan qualified directly to the group stage as a result of winning the Indian top-tier competition. While Bengaluru FC qualified for the playoffs as a result of winning the Federation Cup.

But due to unused slots in the group stage, the 2nd teams from Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and India were given the group stage slots. And thus, Bengaluru FC entered the group stage directly.

Mohun Bagan was placed in Group G while Bengaluru FC in Group H along with Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim, Myanmar's Ayeyawady United and Laos' Lao Toyota FC.

Group Stage

Bengaluru FC faced off Lao Toyota FC in their first match of the campaign which they ended up losing 2-1, Kazuo Honma and Phatthana Syvilay scored for them while CK Vineeth scored the only goal for Bengaluru FC.

They lost the next match too against Johor Darul Ta'zim as Safiq Rahim's only goal turned out to be the decisive one. Bengaluru FC registered their first win of the AFC Cup 2016 campaign against Ayeyawady United 0-1 as captain Sunil Chhetri found the back of the net.

They beat Ayeyawady United in the return leg as it was 8 goals goal-fest. CK Vineeth, Alwyn George, Seiminlen Doungel and Beikhokhei Beingaichho scored for Bengaluru FC while Alwyn George scored a brace.

They beat Lao Toyota FC 2-1 with the help of goals from Seiminlen Doungel and Kim Song-Yong. They suffered another defeat against Johor Darul Ta'zim by 3-0 scoreline.

But at the end of it all, they qualified for the next stage as they finished 2nd in their group behind the obvious one Johor Darul Ta'zim. In total 6 matches, Bengaluru FC won 3 matches and lost 3 matches and ended the group stage with 9 points, 9 points behind the Malaysian team Johor Darul Ta'zim.

Knockout Round

On 25th May, Bengaluru FC faced off Hong Kong's team Kitchee FC in the Round of 16. The Blues walked out victorious with a scoreline of 3-2 with captain Sunil Chhetri bagging a brace while Daniel Lalhimpuia scored one.

They met Singapore's Tampines Rovers in the quarter-finals and the first leg was played at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium where they defeated them with a scoreline that reads 1-0 in favours of Bengaluru FC, CK Vineeth scored the only goal of the match in the 7th minute of the match. The 2nd leg was played at the Jalan Besar Stadium and the match ended in a goalless draw, which means, Bengaluru FC won the match 1-0 on aggregate.


Then came the big day as Bengaluru FC found out that they will face Johor Darul Ta'zim in the semi-final, this is the same team that defeated them twice in the group stage. But Bengaluru FC took perfect revenge as they defeated them 4-2 on aggregate. The first leg ended in 1-1 draw as Eugeneson Lyngdoh scored the goal for Bengaluru FC. The return leg at the Kanteerava saw Bengaluru FC romped past Johor Darul Ta'zim as the blues came out 3-1 victorious over them. Chhetri scored a brace while the other goal belonged to Juanan.


It was nothing short of a dream campaign for Bengaluru FC and they were just one step behind from becoming the first Indian club to win the prestigious AFC Cup. But the dream was crushed by Iraq based club Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya who defeated the blues to win their first-ever AFC Cup. A goal from the tournament's top goalscorer Hammadi Ahmed was just enough to hand the Iraqi team their maiden AFC Cup. In the process, they also became the first Iraqi team to win the AFC Cup.

It was nothing short of a dream run for Bengaluru FC, and they just fall one step short of lifting that trophy. Maybe if they would have won it, then Indian football would have been different from what it is today.

The blues will be back to their familiar territory again this season as they start their AFC Cup campaign from the preliminary stage. They will take on the field on 14th April against the winner of Nepal Army Club and Sri Lanka Police in the preliminary round 2.

Can they complete that dream this time around which was crushed in 2016, we will only find out when the time will come.

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