AFC Cup Review: Balestier celebrate historic win, Warriors on the verge
The Tigers earned their first ever win (and points) in continental competition by winning 2-1 at Jalan Besar Stadium, but things were not so rosy over in Bengaluru as S.League champions Warriors FC lost 1-0.
Balestier Khalsa 2 Kingfisher East Bengal 1
An attacking mindset paid dividends for Balestier as they gained their first AFC Cup win in their third game in Group F.
Visitors Kingfisher East Bengal had hardly settled when they found themselves under siege at Jalan Besar Stadium.
Jonathan Xu drew first blood in the fifth minute, pouncing on a loose ball and firing past an out-of-position Abhijit Mondal from distance to give the Tigers the lead.
Balestier fans did not have to wait long for a second, as striker Miroslav Kristic doubled their lead in the 19th minute.
The Croatian import latched on to a long ball from Ho Wai Loon, beating the East Bengal goalkeeper once again with a well-taken strike.
Tigers custodian Zaiful Nizam was key thereafter as he kept the visitors at bay with some fine saves, although the Indian side did finally break through nine minutes before the end.
There was little the goalkeeper could do as Dudu Omagbemi volleyed home from a flick on to reduce the deficit, but that was as close as the visitors got despite throwing men forward at the death.
Bengaluru FC 1 Warriors FC 0
Warriors FC's wretched run in the AFC Cup continued, as they suffered a narrow loss to I-League champions Bengaluru FC to leave them bottom of Group E.
While they are still mathematically in with a chance of progression, the signs are not good after three straight defeats in the competition.
The Singaporean side conceded a soft penalty in the 36th minute after Daniel Bennett was adjudged to have brought down Vineeth Chekiyot in the box.
English midfielder Josh Walker stepped up and converted past Daniel Ong to give the hosts a lead that they never relinquished.
Try as they might, the Warriors could not find their way back into the game as they returned home empty-handed.