AFC Cup 2017: FC Istiklol defeats Bengaluru FC to face Air Force Athletic Club in final

BFC defender Harmanjot Khabra was sent off after receiving a second yellow card in the first half.

Bengaluru v FC Istiklol
AFC cup: Bengaluru v FC Istiklol AFC

India's JSW Bengaluru FC has failed to reach the final of the AFC cup tournament after 2-2 draw with Tajikistan's FC Istiklol at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on 18 October, Wednesday.

In the first leg of the Inter-Zone play off between these two clubs, Istiklol defeated BFC by 1-0 and in the second leg of this knock-out match they maintained their dominance.

While the hosts of the second leg tried to go through the final of AFC cup by scoring two goals against Tajiks, the visitors maintained their lead and scored two goals to make sure that they will be playing the final match of AFC cup.

However, after receiving a second yellow card for BFC's defender Harmanjot Khabra, the Indian side had to play with 10 men against the 2015 finalists. Finally, Istiklol used that as an advantage and won the match by 3-2 on aggregate.

"We scored the first goal tonight and I think the early goal really helped us a lot for the rest of the game," Istiklol's goalkeeper Nikola Stosic told AFC cup during a post-match interview.

"Bengaluru then got the red card so this was obviously a big advantage for us. After that we already knew in the second half that we would be able to make it to the final," Stosic said.

It will be Istiklol's second appearance in the AFC cup final after 2015. Wherever they had to face a 1-0 defeat by the Malaysian club Johor Darul Ta'zim.

While in 2016 the Tajiks had to satisfy themselves with the fourth position, this time they did not want to miss that opportunity.

"We are in the final of 2015. But unfortunately we were not able to win it. This year we think we can do it. So we will give 100 percent to win the competition," Istiklol's goalkeeper said.

"I don't want to make a prediction yet on whether we will win the final or not. We will have to see how the game goes. But I hope that we can do it," he concluded.

Istiklol will be playing the final match of the AFC cup tournament against the defending champion Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya from , likely to be known as Air Force Athletic Club from Iraq on 4 November, 2017.