Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium witnessed an exhilarating display of football as Mohun Bagan orchestrated a remarkable second-half turnaround to clinch a 3-1 win over Abahani Limited Dhaka in the AFC Cup playoffs on Tuesday. The riveting match showcased the resilience and attacking prowess of both teams, ultimately resulting in a memorable victory for Mohun Bagan.
In the first half, Abahani Dhaka demonstrated their proficiency in counter-attacking strategies, capitalizing on quick breaks to create dangerous scoring opportunities. It was Cornelius Stewart who capitalized on a goalkeeping error by Vishal Kaith in the 17th minute, giving Abahani the lead against the run of play. However, Mohun Bagan managed to level the scoreline before halftime, with Jason Cummings converting a penalty kick following a foul on Liston Colaco in the 37th minute.
The momentum dramatically shifted in the second half, with Mohun Bagan showcasing a renewed sense of purpose and determination. An unfortunate own goal by Abahani’s Milad Sheikhi Soleimani, who inadvertently guided a cross by Hugo Boumous into his own net, handed Mohun Bagan the lead in the 60th minute.
Armanian forward Armando Sadiku then sealed the victory for Mohun Bagan, finding the back of the net to put the match beyond Abahani’s reach. The win not only marked a memorable comeback for Mohun Bagan but also secured their place in the South Zone group stage of the AFC Cup.
The victory held special significance as Mohun Bagan managed to replicate their previous year’s performance against Abahani, securing a 3-1 win at the same stage last season. The match showcased the strategic efforts of both teams, with Abahani’s Juan Ferrando opting for a 3-5-2 formation that saw Liston Colaco partnering with Jason Cummings upfront.
Despite Abahani’s spirited efforts, Mohun Bagan’s transformed gameplay and relentless attacking drive ultimately proved insurmountable. The closing moments of the match featured a flurry of near-misses and valiant attempts from both sides, underscoring the intensity of the contest.
With this victory, Mohun Bagan advances to the AFC Cup South Zone group stage, where they will join other formidable teams in the pursuit of football excellence. The match served as a testament to the unpredictability and excitement that defines football, leaving fans and enthusiasts eagerly awaiting more gripping clashes on the field.