Pyongyang, Sep 13: Bengaluru Football Club played out a creditable goal-less draw against 4.25 SC of North Korea to make it to the Inter-Zone Finals of the AFC Cup on 3-0 aggregate here today.
Last edition’s runners-up side Bengaluru went into Inter-Zone Semifinal match with a 3-0 victory in the home leg last month and they produced a solid performance today to deny the home side any goal at the May Day Stadium here.
They now face Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol, the 2015 finalists, in the two-legged Inter-Zone Finals. Istiklol had beaten Ceres Negros FC of Philippines on 5-1 aggregate in the other Inter-Zone Semifinals.
Bengaluru will travel to Tajikistan on September 27 before they host Istiklol in the decisive Inter-Zone Final second leg at Sree Kanteerava Stadium on October 18.
The winner of that match will face either Syria’s Al Wahda or Air Force Club of Iraq in the 2017 AFC Cup final on November 4.
The Indian side was short of practice time as it reached Pyongyang only on Monday due to North Korea’s Foundation Day Celebrations but it held the fort well and came out triumphant.
Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who joined Bengaluru last month only, was the hero for the visiting side as he saved a penalty kick in the 75th minute of the match.
The India number one keeper Gurpreet guessed correctly to make the save and successfully preserve his clean sheet.
Bengaluru scored three goals without any reply in the first meeting between the two sides in Bengaluru on August 23 thanks to Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh and Lenny Rodrigues, but there were no such fireworks at May Day Stadium today with both teams drawing a blank in front of goal.