AFC Cup Qualifiers : Colombo FC 1-2 Mohun Bagan
Mohun Bagan might not have been at their very best against Colombo FC but they managed to just get the job done, beating the Yellow Submarines by 2-1 in the 1st leg of the AFC Cup preliminary round encounter at the Race Course Ground in Colombo on Tuesday.
Kean Lewis gave Bagan the lead in the 13th minute before Afeez Olofin equalized for the home side in the 30th minute. Sehnaj Singh restored Bagan's lead in the 71st minute with a piledriver of a shot, giving the away side a crucial goal advantage going into the second leg.
Bagan started the match cautiously as Sanjoy Sen opted for a new 4-5-1 formation with Duffy playing as the lone striker.
It took Bagan 13 minutes to take the lead after Scottish striker Duffy capitalized on a mistake from Chameera to lay the ball onto the path of Prabir Das, who whipped in a pinpoint cross to find an unmarked Kean Lewis lurking inside the penalty box. Kean made no mistake in heading the ball into the back of the net thus settling the early nerves.
Bagan were trying to play a slow passing game after the first goal, but the Sri Lankan outfit slowly clawed their way into the game. Afeez created all sorts of problems for the Bagan defence and he was finally rewarded for his perseverance in the 30th minute when his effort on goal from a very acute angle beat Shilton Paul to land in the far corner.
The goal seemed to had installed a new sense of belief among Colombo FC's ranks as they tried to dominate proceedings.
Bagan resorted to long ball tactics after the interval and shifted to their natural 4-4-2 formation. They restored their lead in the 71st minute when Sehnaj Singh decided to take matters into his own hand and blast a scorcher of a shot into the back of the net from outside box.
Sehnaj's goal was the defining moment of the tie as Bagan managed to cling onto their lead for the remainder of the game. The home side from Sri Lanka showed a lot of heart and could cling to their performance as cause for optimism.
Both these sides will have a go at each other in the 2nd leg of this qualifying tie on 7th February at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, Kolkata.