Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC were today crowned as I-League football champions for the second time in three years as they blanked Salgaocar 2-0 in their penultimate league match here yesterday.
Eugenson Lyngdoh (8th minute) and Seminlen Doungel (87th) socred for Bengaluru as Ashley Westwood-coached side took full three points to clinch their second I-League title in front of their home crowd at the Kanteerava Stadium.
They had won their maiden crown in 2013-14 season and had finished second last season (2014-15) behind Mohun Bagan. With 32 points from 15 matches, Bengaluru took an unassailable five point lead from currently second-placed Mohun Bagan (27 points from 15 matches) with one match to spare.
This means that their last league fixture against Mohun Bagan on April 23 in Siliguri has been rendered inconsequential as far as I-League title is concerned. But that match will have importance for deciding the second-place finisher as East Bengal (25 points from 15 matches) are currently at third just two points behind Mohun Bagan.
East Bengal can finish at second if they beat Shillong Lajong in their last match on April 24 in Shillong and Mohun Bagan lose against Bengaluru. Seeking to clinch the title yesterday itself, Westwood fielded the first choice eleven for the clash with Curtis Osano and John Johnson returning to the fold as centre halves with Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Michael Collins manning the midfield.
Youngster Malsawmzuala got a start with Udanta Singh as the wingmen. Skipper Sunil Chhetri combined with Korean Kim Seong Yong to form the attacking nucleus of the 'Blues'. It took just eight minutes for Bengaluru FC to open the scoring through Eugeneson Lyngdoh. The India midfielder scored his third goal in his comeback from injury as he latched onto a loose ball from Salgaocar goalkeeper Karanjit Singh's punch off a cross from the left.
Unmarked 25 yards out, Lyngdoh drove it straight across the ground with a right footer to take the early lead and leave the Goans fluttered.