Just as the feeling of witnessing the first Indian club to reach the AFC Cup final sank in, I took to my laptop to express how special the feeling is and how mammoth the feat.
Days like these you know what Indian Football is capable of achieving. Indian football shall be indebted by this club from Bengaluru for giving Indian football a whole new perspective.
Just 3 years into their existence, Bengaluru FC has scripted the history in Indian football with the young club achieving what the giants never could- a place into the final of the AFC Cup. For the European viewers, the AFC Cup is the Europa League equivalent of Asia and the measure of the degree of achievement is clear to be seen.
Johor Darul Takzim, the defending champions went into the game as favourites having defeated Bengaluru FC on both occasions in the group stage but a new look Bengaluru FC side had other ideas. A strong grit, disciplined regime, facelift in the squad and a new style of play made it for an intriguing clash. Trailing 1-0 when the first half was in play, a wonder strike from Lyngdoh in the away leg to restored parity to setup the clash beautifully.
Bengaluru FC in their own unique way invited the clubs to extend support and for the entire nation to back the blues, albeit different ones this time; and they obliged.
Long queues thronged the stadium, social media was taken by a spring, while a few made way back home early to catch the historic clash.
90 big minutes not just for Bengaluru FC but the whole of India and Indian football kick started just as the clock struck 7 in the evening. Not all started well though with Bengaluru FC going 1-0 down early on. Coming from behind in a crunch game is never easy, but you can always expect Bengaluru FC to pull off miracles. Just as his screamer got Bengaluru FC back in the away leg, Lyngdoh setup Chhetri to head home the equalizer before Captain fantastic scored a peach to put the Indian side 2-1 ahead. Juan Antonio then netted the 3rd to put the game to bed and help Bengaluru FC register history.
3-1 rout of defending champions Johor, step into the summit clash and the 1st Indian club to reach the final of the AFC Cup made for a memorable evening and one that shall not be forgotten soon for Indian football.
Fans were in full flow and the Indian football faithful thankful to the club for what they have done for the sport in the country and the fact that they restored pride for Indian football. An unforgettable day for Indian football and one that would be looked up to while looking back at the big moments in football in India.
Just as the newbie club brought a wave of professionalism three years back when they opened shop, they brought a wave of positivity, belief for Indian football to go from strength to strength and make a mark in the Asian circuit.
And the Tweets kept pouring in….
— Vivek John (@jv84john) October 19, 2016
— Ketan Kulkarni (@Ketan__Kulkarni) October 19, 2016
— Nikhil P Kulkarni (@nikchillz) October 19, 2016
All worth it
What a night !!
“I was there” night #BengaluruFC Historical Magical Mental
— Vinyas (@vinyas_mustang) October 19, 2016