Mohun Bagan Beat Colombo FC To Progress To AFC Cup Playoff Round
Mohun Bagan registered a comfortable 2-1 win over Colombo FC in their AFC Cup Preliminary Round Match at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium on Tuesday. Sony Norde and Darryl Duffy scored a goal each to take the Mariners into the Playoff Round with 4-2 aggregate win.
Sanjoy Sen’s side will be facing Club Valencia of Maldives in the two-leg playoff on Feb 21 (Away) & Feb 28 (Home). A win here will put them with Bengaluru FC in Group E along with Maziya SRC & Abahani Dhaka.
Coming back to the match today, Bagan started with their usual 4-4-2 formation with their Haitian talisman Sony Norde making a return after an injury kept him out for couple of I-League matches.
Colombo FC started with a 4-2-3-1 formation with their influential forward Afeez Olofin spearheading the attack.
The opening quarter of the game was desultory to say the least with both the teams failing to get a grip on proceedings as there were galore of miss passes.
However, it took a moment of brilliance from Sony Norde in the 28th minute to inject some life in the match. Scottish striker Duffy laid the ball for Sony Norde on the edge of the box, whose first time shot hit the bottom right corner of the net, giving Mohun Bagan a 3-1 aggregate lead.
Bagan could have doubled their lead minutes later but Duffy's attempted side volley, from a Katsumi pass, was parried away by the Colombo FC custodian Mohamed Imran.
Bagan finally seemed to have found their footing in the game with Norde weaving his magic on the left wing.
Bagan missed another glaring opportunity in the dying embers of the first half. Duffy's diagonal long ball found Sony Norde on the wing who skipped past his marker to see three Bagan players lurking in the opposition box as opposed to just one Colombo FC defender. Norde kept a low cross to Bikramjit Singh who then wasted the golden opportunity by shooting the ball straight to the onrushing Colombo FC keeper.
Teams went into halftime with the scoreline reading 1-0 in favour of The Mariners.
The tempo picked up after after half time with both teams looking to play some attacking football.
However, Colombo FC's attackers failed to get the better of Anas Edathodika, who was rock solid at the heart of the Bagan defence.
Bagan doubled their lead in the 56th minute when Sony Norde weaved his magic again to skip past the full back and play a square ball to a poaching Duffy inside the box. All that Duffy had to do was a simple tap-in. The goal meant Bagan now had a mammoth 4-1 aggregate lead.
Colombo FC continued making errors at crucial junctures of the match. Afeel Mohamed was the culprit in the 76th minute when he handled the ball inside the box, giving away a penalty in the process.
Substitute Balwant Singh failed to convert the penalty as the Colombo FC keeper made a good diving save.
Colombo FC got a consolation goal in the 88th minute when Momas Yapo dribbled past four Mohun Bagan players before unleashing a lethal left footed shot,which went past an outstretched Shilton Paul to find its way in the bottom right corner.
The match finished 2-1 in favour of Bagan with the final aggregate scoreline being 4-2. Bagan will next face Club Valencia of Maldives in a 2 legged encounter to decide the final entrant of Group E in the AFC Cup.