AFC Cup: ATK Mohun Bagan holds Bashundhara Kings to progress to the knock-out semifinals

Bashundhara Kings took the lead around the half-hour mark through its Brazilian midfielder Jonathan Fernandes before ATK MB found the equaliser just past the hour mark off Australian forward David Williams. 

FILE PHOTO: David Wiliams' (No 9) goal at the 61st minute, assisted by Liston Colaco, proved to be the decisive equaliser for Antonio Habas' ATK Mohun Bagan.   -  Sportzpics for ISL

ATK Mohun Bagan (ATK MB) made it to the inter-zonal semifinals of the AFC Cup, holding its final Group D opponent Bashundhara Kings of Bangladesh to a 1-1 draw at the Maldives National Football Stadium in Male on Tuesday.

Bashundhara Kings took the lead around the half-hour mark through its Brazilian midfielder Jonathan Fernandes before ATK MB found the equaliser just past the hour mark off Australian forward David Williams. The Kings were reduced to 10 men in the stoppage time of the first half when their right-winger Sushanto Tripura was shown a red card.

As it happened| AFC Cup ATK Mohun Bagan 1-1 Bashundhara Kings HIGHLIGHTS: ATKMB draws match but reaches semifinal play-offs

ATK looked disorganised at the start in the face of determined opposition. The Bangladesh side needed a win to make it to the next round, and it stuck to a robust pressing game and unsettled the rhythm of ATK MB. ATK needed a draw to fulfil its objective. Both ATK MB and the Kings shared a few chances in the first quarter of the action before the latter gained greater control over the action.

Fernandes put the Kings in the lead in the 28th minute, firing one from the edge of the box that beat the ATK MB goalkeeper Amrinder Singh. Facing the prospect of an imminent exit, ATK MB tried to regroup after conceding the goal. But the equaliser came after the change of ends when the Kings appeared to be on the defensive with 10 men in their ranks. The equaliser came in the 62nd minute when Liston Colaco did the hard work on the flanks and set up Williams with a nice cross. The Australian forward had no problem in placing the ball home.

Mohun Bagan now plays the winner of the Central Zone final, which is scheduled on Wednesday between the Uzbekistan Club FC Nasaf and the club from Turkmenistan Ahal FC. The inter-zonal semifinal is on September 22 and will be hosted by the winning side of the central zone final.

The result:

Final match day (group D): Mohun Bagan 1 (David Williams 62) drew with Bashundhara Kings 1 (Jonathan Fernandes 28).

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