AFC Cup: Colaco hat-trick helps ATK Mohun Bagan dominate Bashundhara Kings

Needing a win to keep its tournament hopes alive, ATK Mohun Bagan presented a completely reformed performance to outdo Bashundhara Kings in every department.

Liston Colaco

File Photo: ATK Mohun Bagan's hat-trick hero Liston Colaco.   -  ISL MEDIA

Liston Colaco stole the show with a timely hat-trick to propel ATK Mohun Bagan to an emphatic 4-0 win against the Bangladesh league champion, Bashundhara Kings, in a second round Group D match of the AFC Cup at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Saturday. 

David Williams, who came in as a second-half substitute, added one to the treble of Colaco to help the home favourite complete a fantastic comeback.

Needing a win to keep its tournament hopes alive, ATK Mohun Bagan presented a completely reformed performance to outdo Bashundhara Kings in every department.

The embarrassing 2-4 loss against the I-League champion Gokulam Kerala FC previous round, seemed to spur the former Indian Super League runner-up into action.

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ATK Mohun Bagan appeared with a purpose and stepped up the attack mode right from the start. The match was held up for 51 minutes after 11 minutes of initial action as a severe seasonal storm accompanied by heavy showers hit the venue.

ATKMB endured a couple of Bangladesh onslaughts after the restart but found the rhythm soon enough to score the opening goal in the 25th minute. Colaco made the most of a mistake by the Bashundhara defender Biswanath Ghosh, who failed to clear a through pass from Mohun Bagan midfielder Carl McHugh, to open the scoring process.

Colaco doubled the lead in the 33rd minute, latching on to a defence-splitting pass from the Finnish international Joni Kauko. He completed the first hat-trick of his career after the interval, off a Manvir Singh assist in the 53rd minute. Colaco had a couple of more chances to enhance his tally but could not add to his tally. 

David Williams, who replaced Kauko in the 70th minute, added the fourth goal in the 77th minute to complete ATK Mohun Bagan’s dominance.

ATK Mohun Bagan coach Juan Ferrando recalled the previous loss against Gokulam Kerala and said that the players were goaded into action by the adverse comments appearing against them.

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"The last two days the players read a lot of comments after the loss. And today we replied to those on the pitch," Ferrando said. The Spanish head coach praised the fans for staying back braving the rain and storm. "It is really good that the supporters stayed back in the storm. it was really fantastic and gave us the encouragement to perform," the coach added,

"We had the same number of chances as our opponent but our players made a lot of mistakes both in attack and defence. Today we were bad in both the boxes," said the Bashundhara Kings' Spanish coach Oscar Bruzon.

The result: ATK Mohun Bagan 4 (Colaco 25, 33, 53, Williams 77) bt Bashundhara Kings 0.

Maziya halts in-form Gokulam

Maziya S&RC stopped the giant killing run of Gokulam Kerala FC as it beat the latter by a solitary goal to pick up its first win of the AFC Cup group D league,at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday. 

The opening half remained barren after both the sides tested each other’s defence but failed to find the decisive opening. Gokulam Kerala looked a bit sluggish in its approach and lacked the incisiveness that fetched the big win against ATK Mohun Bagan in the previous round. 

Maziya kept its defence tight and did not allow the GKFC forwards Luka Majcen and Jourdain Fletcher enough space to operate.

The Maziya goal came just after the break when its midfielder Tana set up a nice through pass for forward Stewart inside the GKFC box. The latter unleashed an angular grounder that took a deflection off the outstretched leg of GKFC defender Alex Saji to find the net.

Gokulam Kerala had a chance to equalize in the 62nd but Saji could not keep his header on target. The Maldives league champion created more chances later in the action but failed to alter the scoreline further as the crosspiece came in the way twice to deny the visitor a bigger win.

The end of the second round saw all the four teams in the group – Gokulam Kerala FC, ATK Mohun Bagan, Bashundhara Kings and Maziya – remaining tied on three points each.

The result: Gokulam Kerala FC 0 lost to Maziya S&RC 1 (Stewart 50).

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