Sunil Chhetri scored twice from the penalty spot to save Bengaluru FC the blushes as they came from behind to hold Sesa FC to a 2-2 draw and set up a semifinal clash with Salgaocar FC in the 127th Durand Cup at Raia Panchayat ground here on Monday.
The draw put Bengaluru FC and Sesa FC levelled on four points each and with the goal average too remained the same on plus one each, Bengaluru FC who scored one goal (four) more than Sesa finished at the top of the Pool C and thus qualifed for the semi-finals.
Bengaluru FC now play Salgaocar FC in the first semifinals on November 6.
Bengaluru FC, who had more of the ball possession, took the lead in the 66th minute when rival defender Pontiff Vaz handled an aerial ball and referee Fasil Salahudeen awarded the penalty for the visitors which Sunil Chhetri converted.
Sesa FC restored parity in the 79th minute when substitute Agnelo Colaco took a shot which dropped in front of the goal and went in giving no chance for the rival keeper to react.
Spurred by the goal, Sesa FC kept on attacking and came with a counter move and took the lead a couple of minutes later when substiute Melwyn Fernandes despatched a curling shot that deceived rival keeper Pawan Kumar and found the roof of the net.
Bengaluru were on the verge of a defeat but earned a penalty when Sesa's Melwyn Fernandes pulled down substiute John Johnson from behind inside the box which saw loud protest from the home team players against the referee. Melwyn, who kept on arguing with the referee, got his second booking and was sent off.
Chhetri made no mistake from the penalty spot to put Bengaluru FC in the semifinals.
Earlier in the day, Salgaocar FC played out a 1-1 draw against Tuff Laxmi Prasad in a Pool A quarter-final match to make it to the semifinals.
After ND Opera put Tuff Laxmi Prasad in the lead in the 28th minute, Douhou Peirre restored parity for Salgaocar FC in the 44th minute.
Salgaocar, who needed a draw to top the group, collected four points from two matches and made it to the knockout round.