ATK Mohun Bagan advanced to the inter-zone play-off semi-finals by defeating Maziya in their last AFC Cup 2022 Group D match on Tuesday at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. ATK Mohun Bagan finished first in Group D with six points and proceeded to the next round of the AFC Cup 2022.
ATK Mohun Bagan advanced to the inter-zone play-off semi-finals by defeating Maziya in their last AFC Cup 2022 Group D match on Tuesday at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. Joni Kauko scored twice (26', 37'), while Roy Krishna (56'), Subhashish Bose (58'), and Carl McHugh (71') each scored once. Tana (45', 73') scored twice for Maziya, the Maldives champions, and was their lone goal scorer on the day.
Last week, the Indian Super League (ISL) team dropped their opener against Gokulam Kerala but bounced back with victories over Bangladesh's Bashundhara Kings and Maziya. ATKMB looked comfortable from the start in the must-win encounter but did not approach the Maziya goal in the opening 15 minutes.
ATKMB, on the other hand, controlled possession and was compensated in the 26th minute. Joni Kauko, a Finnish midfielder for ATK Mohun Bagan, put Mariners ahead after an assist from Roy Krishna. Roy Krishna missed an open chance from the heart of the box ten minutes later, sending it over the goal. ATK Mohun Bagan did not let up, as Joni Kauko scored his second goal of the match just a minute later to extend the Indian side's lead.
In the closing minute of the first half, Maziya increased the ante and equalised. Maziya's Spanish playmaker Tana scored thanks to a defensive blunder by ATKMB defender Deepak Tangri. At the end of the first half, ATKMB had 61% possession and 11 shots on target, compared to Maziya's seven.
ATK Mohun Bagan recovered the upper hand soon after the restart, with Roy Krishna, Subhasish Bose, and Carl McHugh all scoring. Subhasish Bose's cross into the box hit the feet of an unguarded Roy Krishna in the 56th minute, giving ATKMB the lead for the second half. To make it 3-1, the Fijian attacker scored from close range.
Subhasish Bose put his name on the scoresheet after finishing Liston Colaco's cross two minutes after giving the assist. The ISL 2020-21 runners-up pushed for more goals with their tails up, and defender Carl McHugh made it 5-1 for the home side. With 17 minutes left, Maziya's Tana headed the ball into the ATKMB goal to make it 5-2.
ATKMB, on the other hand, managed to win the game and advance to the inter-zone play-off semi-finals. This is the first time an Indian team has lost their first match yet still advanced from the group stage. Last year, the ISL team won their group to advance to the inter-zone play-off semi-finals but were defeated by previous champions FC Nasaf of Uzbekistan.