Loses 3-0 on aggregate to Bengaluru FC in the second-leg
Transport United’s journey in the AFC Cup 2018 ended when it lost to Bengaluru FC 3-0 in India on January 30.
The two teams settled for a goalless draw in the first-leg at Changlingmithang in Thimphu on January 23.
However, the team suffered domination from the host, the former AFC Cup runners-up and Indian Super-league (ISL) leader, at the Sree Kanteerava stadium in Karnataka.
The hosts went on to win corners within the first minute and lashed several shots on targets within 10 minutes. Transport United’s goalkeeper and skipper Hari Gurung stopped an early goal, making crucial saves in the 9th and 13th minute.
Boithang Haokip beat Hari Gurung scoring the opener with a header from six-yard box in the 27th minute. Transport United managed to keep the score to 1-0 in the first half.
Transport United’s only chance was from a free-kick outside the 16-yard box in the 62nd minute. Thinley Dorji’s free-kick was the only shot that troubled Bengaluru’s Lalthuammawia Ralte.
The loss to Bengaluru also ended Transport United’s undefeated run in the last five games the club played in the national league.
Hari Gurung said he had expected a win with the host starting with similar players that played in the first leg. “The match was intense compared to the home game. It was a good experience leading the team in such a big game.”
Bengaluru FC started with two foreigners. Albert Roca brought in Juanan Gonzalez who found an opener against North East United in ISL before starting against Transport United.
Although Transport United fielded its only foreigner Eze Collins with Kencho Tobgay in the attack, the duo pressured the opponent’s defense on few occasions.
Transport United striker, Kencho Tobgay said it was difficult to coordinate well in the attacking line with his new mate. “We hardly knew his play in the game. We lost our concentration throughout the game. We are a better team than this.”
He said he played against one of the best defenders. “It was a tough match but the same formation like the home game could have fetched better results. We got to train harder and come back stronger,” he said.
Midfielder Purna Kumar Pradhan and Yeshey Dorji were dropped from the squad.
The club last featured in AFC Cup group stage playoff in 2008. Transport United holds the record with five appearances in the AFC Cup competition.
Bengaluru FC confirmed their spot in the South Asian Zonal play-offs for the AFC Cup 2018 against TC Sports Club of the Maldives that defeated Saif Sporting Club from Bangladesh 4-1 on aggregate.