Bengaluru FC (BFC) withstood a late assault from Royal Wahingdoh to post a 3-3 draw in a thrilling I-League encounter here on Friday.
BFC led 3-2 heading into the final minutes, before a ferocious strike from Wahingdoh’s Reagan Singh deflected off Lalchhuanmawia and nestled into the net. With the score tied at 3-3, the visitor came hard at the BFC defence. More than a few nervous moments passed before the referee blew the final whistle.
Two goals — especially given the close nature of the clash — stood out. At 1-1 in the 44th minute, Wahingdoh’s Godwin Franco set the field alight with a moment of brilliance. A layoff pass strayed across his path nearly 30 yards out, and Franco struck it cleanly on the first touch. The goalkeeper was beaten low to his left.
The next highlight had significantly less to do with skill. After Shankar Sampangiraj’s strike pulled the game level to 2-2, BFC appeared to get the rub of the green.
Striker Sean Rooney attempted to reach a long ball, but Wahingdoh ’keeper Prem Kumar beat him to it. Prem parried the ball, but brushed a rushing Rooney on the foot. Rooney went down, and referee Pratap Singh awarded a rather harsh penalty. Joshua Walker, not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, converted.
Santosh Kashyap, the visiting coach, stated that he was satisfied with the result, but questioned the referee’s performance.
“Pratap is a very good referee. I respect him, but maybe the pressure got to him. But, this is not the first time that our team has suffered because of the referee. I request our team management to take up the matter with the AIFF,” he said.
BFC and Wahingdoh remain second and third on the points table respectively.
Bengaluru FC 3 (Robin Singh 39, Shankar Sampangiraj 56, Joshua Walker 70) drew with Royal Wahingdoh 3 (Kim Song 17, Godwin Franco 44, Reagan Singh 74).
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