AFC Cup: Mohun Bagan defeats Colombo FC, moves into play-offs

Mohun Bagan moved into the AFC Cup play-offs with an aggregate 4-2 win over Colombo FC, after a 2-1 result at home on Tuesday.

MohunBagan

Mohun Bagan striker Sony Norde (second from left) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his goal against Colombo FC.   -  PTI

Mohun Bagan produced a repeat of the first leg score-line 2-1 at home to defeat Colombo FC 4-2 on aggregate and book a play-off berth in the South Zone qualifiers of the AFC Cup.

Bagan opened the scoring midway in the first half through Haitian Sony Norde, who made a successful return from injury. Scotsman Darryl Duffy fetched the insurance goal for Bagan early in the second half before the visitor pulled one back near the end through its Ivory Coast midfielder Seka Jean Yapo.

Needing just a draw after having ensured a 2-1 advantage by > winning the first round in Colombo, Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen rested a few regulars ahead of the team’s meeting with traditional rival East Bengal on Sunday. Bagan dominated the action for a greater part while the visitor ruled in patches.

Katsumi Yusa, the hardworking Japanese in the Bagan midfield, was at his creative best, initiating both the moves that ended in goals for the host. Yusa set up Duffy in the 28th minute with a nice pass and the Scotsman essayed the ball square to Norde to finish. The nice coordination between the three was back in the 56th minute when Yusa issued a diagonal floater for Norde running up on the left. The Haitian winger accepted the pass with gratitude and crossed the ball right on the Colombo goalmouth for Duffy to tap it home.

Late revival

By this time, the visitor was thoroughly outplayed as Bagan worked up a nice rhythm with the return of Norde, who is the key in the host’s attack plans. Colombo, which got all its three foreigners including Nigerians Nasuri Opeyemi and Afeez Olayemi - who joined the team late after delayed visa clearances - found its footing late in the second half. This happened after its custodian Mohamed Imran made a nice save in the 76th minute, preventing Bagan substitute Balwant Singh from scoring a penalty.

Substitute Dilan Kaushalya tapped the ball ahead for Yapo near the Bagan box and the Ivory Coast medio dribbled clear of four opposition defenders before finishing with a left-footer to score a spectacular goal for Colombo in the 88th minute.

The result: Mohun Bagan 2 (Sony Norde 28, Darryl Duffy 56) bt Colombo FC 1 (Seka Jean Yapo 88).

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