ANI Photo | FC Bengaluru United, Golden Threads FC share spoils in thrilling draw

Two-time Karnataka Super Division Champions, FC Bengaluru United were locked in a 2-2 draw against Kerala-based Golden Threads FC at the Bangalore Football Stadium. An entertaining encounter unfolded with an abundance of chance creation. A penalty conversion from the in-form Irfan Yadwad (45+2′) and a late equaliser by K Manjit (84′) ensured that the teams walked away with one point. Bibake Thapa (32′) and Nithin Madhu (74′) etched their names on the scoresheet for Golden Threads FC.
Following the result, FCBU will move into the second position of the Group C table in the 2nd Division I-League qualifiers, along with Bengaluru FC, while they trail table leaders Golden Threads FC by a mere one point.
FC Bengaluru United kicked off the action with vigour, creating chances and pressing forward with intent, much to the chagrin of the Golden Threads FC defence. Within the first 20 minutes, FCBU had four shots on goal. Their first chance of the game came as early as the first minute when Selwyn deployed a lobbed cross to find Nikhil Mali in the box. Despite negating the uncomfortable bounce with ease, Nikhil Mali failed to convert and his volley soared over the post. A trademark long throw-in from Manoj on the right flank in the 6th minute looked like trouble for Golden Threads FC, but the Kerala-based side held their composure and nullified the opportunity. Another chance developed in the 20th minute when Selwyn stepped up to a free kick from a promising position, he did well to find Irfan Yadwad and set up a half chance, but the league’s leading striker headed it wide.

Golden Thread’s first real chance of the game unfolded in the 30th minute when a quick free kick on the right flank was serviced into the box, by Captain Thapa, their back-to-back attempts were denied, first by a spectacular save by FCBU’S Goalkeeper Srijith and then by a sensational block by defender Anil Chawan on the line. Soon after, Golden Threads took the lead in the 32nd minute, a corner kick was directed into a chaotic box and skipper Bibake Thapa was quick to take advantage of it and bury in in the net to make it 1-0 for Golden Threads FC. Shortly before halftime, FCBU won a penalty, after Vinil Poojary’s cross was deflected off the hands of a Golden Thread defender. Unsurprisingly, Irfan Yadwad buried yet another penalty this season, with a bottom-corner finish to cancel the deficit, making it 1-1
The second half saw an increased intensity from both teams, while FCBU continued to dominate possession, Golden Threads counter-attacked with greater intent, resulting in end-to-end action. Yet another chance fell for the men in red, in the 56th minute when Selwyn found Irfan Yadwad off yet another lobed cross, but a diving Irfan was unable to make a clean connection and the ball trickled away for a goal kick. FCBU looked lethal on the attack when a dribbling Nikhil Mali took on a right-footed shot from the edge of the box, after skipper Sushi Meitei found him with precision, however, he was unable to break the deadlock as Mali’s stellar attempt only managed to rattle the horizontal.
Soon after Golden Threads FC broke with lightning-quick speed on the right flank, and defender Nithin Madhu found the net from just outside the box, to give Golden Threads the lead in the 74th minute.
In the best chance of the second half, striker Irfan Yadwad found himself in a one-on-one with the Golden Threads keeper, but his attempt was parried away by Velutha Vishnu in the 83rd minute. FCBU redeemed themselves shortly after when the resulting corner on the right flank was played short and served up to defender K Manjith, who headed it into the back of the net for a much-deserved equaliser in the 84th minute. A few more opportunities came for FC Bengaluru United in the final minutes of the game, but they were unable to secure the third goal. (ANI)

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