Dhaka: India’s JSW Bengaluru clinched the Inter-Zone Semi-Final qualification ticket from Group E with a thumping 4-0 away victory against Bangladesh’s Dhaka Abahani Limited on Matchday Six of the 2018 AFC Cup group stage on Wednesday.
The visitors started on the front foot and were ahead inside 13 minutes when captain Sunil Chhetri led a quick counter-attack, embarking on a solo run from the halfway line before squaring for Daniel Segovia who was left with a simple tap-in to open the scoring.
Chhetri was again the side’s prime creator three minutes later, as he controlled Erik Paartalu’s long pass inside the opposition area and laid off a pass for Nishu Kumar to strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Bengaluru’s dominance continued after the break as Kumar doubled his tally in the 58th minute. Chhetri set up his teammate with a lobbed pass behind the defence and the number 22 chested the ball down before applying a composed finish on the half-volley from close range to make it 3-0.
Just as they did in the first half, the Indian side followed their goal with another within less than 90 seconds. This time Chhetri turned from provider to scorer. The hosts’ goalkeeper Shahidul Alam spilled his attempt to catch a cross and the Bengaluru captain duly punished him, pouncing on the loose ball to sweep home his side’s fourth of the evening.
Bengaluru, who had reached the lnter-Zone Play-Off Final last year, topped Group E with 15 points, benefiting from their compatriots, Aizawl, defeating Maldives’ New Radiant 2-1 in the group’s other Wednesday fixture.