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AFC Cup Final: Air Force Club, Iraq beat Bengaluru FC 1-0

NDTV logo NDTV 05-11-2016
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23:28 IST: That's it in Doha! Air Force Club are the champions of AFC Cup. Bengaluru FC's Asian dream has come to a cruel, disappointing end, but what a campaign this has been for the three-year-old Indian club!

23:19 IST: Five minutes of injury time left now. Now or never for Bengaluru FC!

23:17 IST: CK Vineeth fails to connect at the end of a very good free kick routine from Bengaluru FC. It's still 1-0 to Air Force Club.

23:11 IST: Ranjan Singh replaces Alvaro Rubio for Bengaluru FC.

23:07 IST: Bengaluru FC are struggling at the back. A bagful of chances for Air Force Club after that first goal, but not the best finishing from them.

23:02 IST: Air Force have the ball inside the net once again, but it is correctly ruled out for offside.

23:00 IST: Hammadi Ahmed scores to give Air Force Club a 1-0 lead. Poor defending from Bengaluru during that goal.

22:58 IST: Bengaluru FC get their first corner of the game, but Air Force manage to clear and go on a break.

22:53 IST: Substitutions for Bengaluru FC: Seiminlen Doungel replaces Nishu Kumar, Udanta Singh comes on for Alwyn George.

22:50 IST: Another chance for Air Force Club, but their attempt fails to trouble Ralte.

22:45 IST: Bengaluru FC have their first real chance. Sunil Chhetri cuts back from the left for Eugeneson Lyngdoh, whose shot is blocked. Air Force break moments later, but Amjed Radhi's effort from outside the box goes wide.

22:42 IST: Another chance for Air Force Club, this time to Hamadi, who skies his effort. Warning signs for Bengaluru FC.

22:40 IST: Amjed Radhi finds some space near the goal, but his shot goes well over. Bengaluru will be reprieved!

22:35 IST: The second half starts in Doha. Can Bengaluru FC break the deadlock?

22:18 IST: The first half ends goalless. Apart from the 40th minute chance that Air Force failed to convert, it's been a half of very few chances.

22:10 IST: A big chance goes begging for Air Force Club. Amjed Radhi is through on goal, and has a teammate alongside him with just goalkeeper Ralte in front. His pass to his teammate, however, is straight into Ralte's safe hands.

22:06 IST: Air Force's Amjed Radhi attempts a long-ranger, but it goes straight into Ralte's hands.

22:00 IST: Bengaluru FC with two dangerous crosses into the box, but the Air Force defence is well placed to clear both. It's still 0-0 in the final.

21:55 IST: Big blow for Air Force Club as Humam Tareq walks off injured. The Bengaluru defence will have heaved sigh of relief.

21:50 IST: Nothing concrete from either side so far. Air Force Club with bigger share of possession, but like Bengaluru, they haven't had a shout at the goal yet.

21:43 IST: Rino Anto breaks from the right for Bengaluru. Air Force Club clear their lines well. It's still goalless in Doha.

21:40 IST: Air Force Club starting to control possession here. Bengaluru look a bit jittery in the early proceedings.

21:39 IST: Air Force Club have a free-kick around 30 yards from the Bengaluru goal. Amjed Radhi fails to keep it on target.

21:35 IST: Cautious start from both sides so far. It's been a cagey first few minutes of the AFC Cup final.

21:30 IST: The final kicks off in Doha. Can Bengaluru FC create history today?

21:20 IST: Hello and welcome to the live coverage of the AFC Cup final between Bengaluru FC and Iraq's Air Force Club. Bengaluru have made just one change, with suspended goalkeeper Amrinder Singh making way for Lalthuammawia Ralte.

Bengaluru FC are the first Indian club to qualify for the final of a continental tournament after they defeated defending champions Johor Darul Ta'zim in the semifinals on 4-2 aggregate last month.

Before this, the farthest an Indian club had advanced in a continental tournament was the two AFC Cup semifinal appearances by Dempo in 2008 and East Bengal in 2013.

But a bigger glory, which will be unprecedented in the annals of Indian football history, awaits Bengaluru as they prepare to clash with the Iraqi side, which, just like the Indian club, is also playing in its maiden AFC Cup final, at the Qatar Sports Club Stadium.

The Bengaluru-based side, coached by Albert Roca, a former assistant coach at FC Barcelona, have been in superb form in the tournament winning six times, losing thrice and drawing twice. They are also expected to get the home-like feeling here as a large number of Indian expatriates settled in Qatar will be rooting for them.

Air Force Club have scored 26 goals in 11 matches so far in their campaign with 15 coming from their rampaging striker Hammadi Ahmed Abdullah, a national team player.

Roca, however, is not unduly worried about their opponents' goal-scoring spree. "I've said more than a few times that we play to our strengths. We have got to be brave and I don't see how going defensive translates to being brave. Yes, they are a good side that loves scoring but we back ourselves," said Roca.

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