Mohun Bagan defeats Machhindra FC 3-1 to clinch a playoff spot in South Zone for AFC Cup
Mohun Bagan Super Giant overcame their derby disaster with a 3-1 victory against Machhindra FC to secure their spot in the South Zone playoff round of the AFC Cup on Wednesday in Kolkata. Anwar Ali rose to the occasion with a pair of goals.
On August 22, Mohun Bagan will play Abahani Limited Dhaka in a playoff game in Kolkata. On Wednesday, the Bangladeshi team defeated Club Eagles of the Maldives 2-1 in another match from the second preliminary round.
The Mariners took the lead against the flow of play in the 38th minute thanks to a well-placed header from India centre back Ali off of a Hugo Boumous corner.
Jason Cummings, a highly-publicized addition to Mohun Bagan and the Australian World Cup champion, extended the advantage in the 59th minute with a left-footed shot into an empty net.
However, the Kathmandu team would not give up and scored a goal in the 78th minute through Cameroon midfielder Messouke Oloumou to put pressure on the opposition in the final frame.
When Ali scored from another header after Dimitri Petratos sent a right-footed cross from a free-kick for the Mariners, the game was all but over.
Only 5,892 people showed up, still nursing their wounds after the derby setback.
The team led by Juan Ferrando put on a show, starting their star acquisition Cummings up front and including offensive Indian midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad in the starting lineup.
They still appeared rusty, though, and Cummings' listless performance up front was the biggest letdown.
The Mariners led 1-0 at the break, but given how the first half had gone, they easily might have scored half a dozen goals had it not been for Machhindra FC custodian Bishal Shreshtha's heroic saves beneath the bar.
Mohun Bagan launched a flurry of assaults immediately away. Ashique Kuruniyan received the ball inside the box in the very first minute, but his effort missed the target.
Samad also missed a few shots in the opening thirty minutes.
The Machhindra custodian first stopped his bullet strike from Anirudh Thapa's assist in the 10th minute. Then, in the 26th minute, he again raided from the left, but the home team was still unable to advance.
Subhashish Bose and Boumous both missed their attempts to complete, as well.
Mohun Bagan experienced another setback as their star player Kuruniyan needed to be carried off the pitch after they scored their second goal.