Indian Football: Bengaluru FC live to fight another day; New structure for football in the country to be finalised in January

Bengaluru hold Johor Darul Ta’zim to 1-1 draw

An impressive strike by Eugeneson Lyngdoh saw Bengaluru FC salvage a 1-1 draw and a crucial away goal in their AFC Cup first leg semi-final match against defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim in Malaysia on Wednesday.

The charismatic midfielder fired in a left-footed screamer from long range into the left corner of Johor’s net in the 57th minute, after Jorge Pereyra Diaz had put the home side ahead in the 3rd minute at the Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium.

Wednesday’s draw would give an advantage to the I-League champions in their quest for a historic final appearance in the AFC Cup –  the second tier club competition of the continent. Bengaluru play their second leg of the semi-finals on 19 October at home at Kanteerava Stadium.

No Indian club had ever made it to the final of the AFC Cup, and it would be some achievement if Sunil Chhetri & co can achieve the improbable. Bengaluru FC are only the third Indian side to have made it to the semi-finals of the AFC Cup (Dempo in 2008 and East Bengal in 2013).

This match was the third time these two sides met in this edition of the tournament. Bengaluru and Johor were clubbed together in the group stage and the Malaysian giants had won both the home and away group matches.

In his third game in charge of Bengaluru, manager Alberto Roca went for a high-pressing game in the first session and was rather fortunate to come away with a positive result.

Roadmap for Indian football set to be finalised in January 2017

According to Goal, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) officials informed the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) that the roadmap for Indian football would be finalised by January 2017.

A proposal for the roadmap for Indian football was shared by numerous stakeholders earlier this year. It suggested that there will be three football leagues in the pyramid of Indian football with the Indian Super League (ISL) being the apex.

Integration of new teams into the ISL would be done through a tendering process which would also allow I-League teams to make the cut. The process of integrating new teams was expected to be completed by the end of November 2016, which has now been postponed to January 2017.

On Wednesday, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary Dato Windsor stated:

“The taskforce meeting was extremely positive and the AFC identified areas in which we can assist the development of football in India – which is a key to the AFC’s vision of increasing engagement in the sport.

“We had fruitful discussions on the status of league football in India. The AIFF’s plans for the proposed league structure were again discussed but the AFC is extremely clear on this matter. Any decisions on the structure of the game in India are for the AIFF Executive Committee – not the AFC.”

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