2014/15 I-League champions Mohun Bagan settled for a 1-1 draw against Yangon United FC in their fourth group match of the 2016 AFC Cup at the Thuwaunna YTC stadium in Myanmar on Wednesday. With the draw, the Mariners continued their lead at the top of the Group G with 10 points from 4 games.
Yangon United: Luiz Fernando(GK); Zaw Min Tun, Kunihiro, Khin Maung Lwin(C), Phyo Aung, David Htan, Aung Kyaw, Kyi Lin, Adilson, Kyaw Ko Ko, Marcelo Fernandes
After going through a terrible run in the I-League, which saw them collecting just two points out a possible twelve, 2014/15 I-League champions Mohun Bagan travelled to Myanmar to play against Yangon United FC in the 2016 AFC Cup in search of a win to enter the last 16. The Mariners had defeated the Lions 3-2 in the reverse fixture, back in March, and with the team unbeaten in the tournament, coach Sanjoy Sen opted for a much-changed line-up this time around.
Arnab Das Sarma started in goal instead of Debjit Majumder, while Raju Gaikwad partnered Luciano Sabrosa in the centre of the defence. With Sony Norde injured, Subash Singh started alongside Jeje and Cornell Glen to form the three-man attack.
Although Mohun Bagan have been leaking goals at the back, the attackers have been performing consistently scoring seven goals in their four-match winless run. In Yangon also, it was the strikers who led the team forward with Cornell Glen, Jeje and Subash Singh pestering the opposition defence. The home side, who put in a spirited display in the reverse fixture, opted for a more pragmatic approach this time around, sitting back in their own defence hoping for a defensive lapse from the Indian side.
The ploy worked perfectly as the Mariners, who were throwing attack after attack, were caught napping in their defence in the 26th minute as forwards Kyaw Ko Ko and Adilson exchanged a one-two with each other to split the Bagan defence open. Adilson found the bottom of the far corner with an inch-perfect shot from the edge of the box to open the scoring for the home side.
Even though, the goal put Yangon in the ascendancy, the front three of Bagan continued to cause problems at the other end. The pressure finally paved the way for a goal in the 42nd minute after Lenny Rodrigues found Cornell Glen near the box with a beautiful pass. The Trinidad and Tobago striker did the rest as he ran with the ball into the box, before taking a left-footed shot past the diving Luiz Fernando in the Yangon goal.
Having won the first three matches in the group, Mohun Bagan opted to sit on the 1-1 scoreline and welcomed the home side to attack in the second half. Arnab Das Sarma was called into action on more than one occasion with the Mariners sitting back and allowing Yangon a free run in the midfield. Subash Singh, who was bombing forward at every possible instance in the first forty-five, found himself defending for most parts in the second half.
Goalkeeper Arnab Das Sarma’s mistake in the 80th minute, after he handled a back pass from Lenny Rodriguez in the box, gave Yangon a golden opportunity to take the lead. But, Adilson’s shot from the edge of the penalty box from the resultant indirect free kick, went out after it took a deflection Bikramjit in the Bagan wall to end the hopes of the home side.
With the draw, Mohun Bagan continued their lead at the top of Group G with ten points from four games. With their place in round-16 almost secured, Bagan will next face Maziya S&RC in their fifth match of the group on April 27 at the National Football stadium in Malé, Maldives.