Bengaluru FC came away from Pyongyang with a clean sheet and progress to the next round of the Inter-Zonal final of the AFC Cup 2017.
The Blues reached the penultimate round of the Asia’s second-tier competition for elite clubs for a second consecutive year after having lost the final to Iraq’s Air-Force Club last season.
Last year, they beat the 2015 AFC Champions Johor Baru of Malaysia in a high-voltage semifinal clash and will be hoping to do the same against Istiklol FC of Tajikistan, who beat Ceres Negros of Philippines 5-1 on aggregate to progress to the semis.
“They are a very, very good team. They (are from Central Asia) play like a team from the Middle-East. It’s going to be tough,” said Mandar Tamhane, Chief Technical Officer of Bengaluru FC.
The Crowns from Tajikistan have finished top of their league five times in the last five years and have won the domestic cup an equal number of times. Incidentally, Istiklol lost to Johor in the 2015 AFC Cup final, with the team from Malaysia winning by a single goal.
Artem Baranovskiy was shown a straight red in the second half of their Inter-Zonal final cup semifinal and will miss the first leg against BFC. The Blues will have the advantage of playing the second leg at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.
Tamhane mentions they ideally want to get an away goal in Dushanbe. This will also be a match-up of two solid defensive units. BFC’s new-look defence has kept back-to-back clean sheets – the latest, a commendable one in North Korea. While they have conceded six goals in eight AFC Cup matches this season, Istiklol have let in one fewer in the same number of matches.
“It is heartening to see this. We assembled this team at short notice and its commendable that they performed the way they did in difficult circumstances,” said Tamnhane.
The Blues conceded a penalty when Rahul Bheke brought down An Il-Bom in the box, but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu dived to his right denying midfielder Ri Hyong Jin’s effort from 12 yards.
Won Song hit the crossbar for the home team as the team’s new custodian and the defence held firm.
Bengaluru started with an unchanged line-up from the first leg as Subhashish Bose, Malsawmzuala and Daniel Lalhlimpuia came on for Nishu Kumar, Lenny Rodrigues and Antonio Dovale.
BFC’s CTO says contact with the team was minimal as they kept in touch via the landlines at the team hotel, amid internet blackout.
“We were supposed to travel on the 8th but Foundation Day in North Korea meant that we had to postpone our plans and landed just 48 hours before the game. It’s not easy, playing in jet-lagged conditions. With 15 bags of kits and equipment going missing and arriving just a day before the game, the players had to train in makeshift gear on the eve of the clash. Visa issues were also present as we couldn’t process it while the national team players were away playing Macau. Finally, the AFC officials intervened and we got it done on time,” Tamhane spoke of the challenges that Bengaluru FC faced.
Mandar says there are a lot of positives to be taken away from this game. “When you go out there, all these issues take a backseat. When the team goes and actually experiences this, mentally they have to be very strong. This is also a victory for the staff nowhere in the forefront,” he hailed BFC’s operational staff.
With their North Korean sojourn over, Tamhane said there were ‘no more excuses’. “We were very happy with the draft and the performances have just fortified our belief. They are playing the way the coach wants them to play. This is the reason we played in Spain against European teams, we wanted tougher opposition and tougher games.”
With the away leg first up on September 27th, the West Zonal final will decide the other finalist a day prior, with Syria’s Al-Wahda leading last season’s champions Air Force Club of Iraq by two goals to one.
Bengaluru. Al-Wahda. Air Force. Istiklol. They’ve all played in the final before but Air Force is the only one to have won the competition. The other three will be looking for a second shot at the cherry.
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Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival
We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.
The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:
Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app
Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.
Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.
Plan your shopping
The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.
Track the deals
There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.
Big discounts and top picks
The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.
Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.
There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.
There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are LenovoTab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch. For those of you just looking for a high quality fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge has Rs. 4500 off on 22nd September.
If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.
Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.
The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.
For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.
Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.
For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.
The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.
While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!
If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.
Check-out process and payment options
Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.
Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon.in and not by the Scroll editorial team.