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regular-article-logo Friday, 24 May 2024

Mohun Bagan defeats Abahani Limited Dhaka 3-1, advances to main round of AFC Cup

The star-studded Mohun Bagan line-up were far from playing their A game, but the sloppiness of the visiting side helped them recover after conceding an early goal

Sayak Banerjee Salt Lake Published 23.08.23, 09:20 AM
Jason Cummings after scoring Mohun Bagan Super Giant’s first goal against Abahani Limited in the AFC Cup playoff stage game at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday.

Jason Cummings after scoring Mohun Bagan Super Giant’s first goal against Abahani Limited in the AFC Cup playoff stage game at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh

Mohun Bagan Super Giant’s start to the season so far hasn’t really been great. On Tuesday, at the Salt Lake Stadium, they were once again not at their best against Abahani Limited Dhaka, but this time they did enough to register a win.

The poor quality of football dished out by the Bangladeshi opponents also helped as Juan Ferrando’s men walked off with a 3-1 win in this AFC Cup playoff stage game and advanced to the main round of the competition.

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The star-studded Mohun Bagan line-up were far from playing their A game, but the sloppiness of the visiting side helped them recover after conceding an early goal.

Incidentally, last year on April 19, Mohun Bagan had beaten the same opponents at the same venue and that too, by an identical margin. Though Ferrando and his wards still have a fair amount of work to do this season, the encore should make them happy as well as relieved at least for the time being.

Right from the onset, Bagan initiated many a move, with their attack mainly generating from the right side. But to everyone's surprise, Abahani took the lead in the 17th minute. Bagan goalkeeper Vishal Kaith was at fault.

Ojukwu David floated one in from the left, Kaith collected it only to drop the ball. That was an invitation for Cornelius Ezekiel to slot it home with his left foot. That botch-up from Kaith left his teammates, as well as the Mohun Bagan fans stunned, while for Abahani, it was a pleasant evening surprise.

Fortunately for Mohun Bagan, Abahani had neither the strength to extend their lead nor the resilience to hold it. Pressing on for the equaliser, Bagan finally restored parity through a penalty late in the first half when Liston Colaco was tripped inside the box by rival defender Sushanto Tripura.

Jason Cummings had something to cheer about as he comfortably shot home a left-footer to make it 1-1.

Once scores were level, Bagan were in absolute control and it was a matter of time before they went on to take the lead. In less than a quarter of the second half, the scoreline read 2-1 in Mohun Bagan's favour when Milad Soleimani tapped Hugo Boumous' attempt in for an own goal.

Half an hour before regulation time, Liston set Armando Sadiku up from the left and the Albanian international placed it home after a deflection off Abahani goalie Mohammed Sahidul Alam.

The game then was more or less done and dusted for Mohun Bagan. They did clear this "final" test, as head coach Ferrando had urged them to on the match eve. But finishing remains one area that Bagan need to address if they want their season to be as good as their last.

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