AFC CUP: 10-man Tampines Rovers beats Bagan

Afiq Yunos found the winner for Tampines three minutes before the end of the extra-time to help the visitor book a berth in the next round.

Jeje Lalpekhlua is seen in action against Tampines Rovers FX Singapor in the AFC Cup 2016 in Guwahati on Tuesday.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

A 10-man Tampines Rovers downed favourite Mohun Bagan 2-1 in extra-time in a pre-quarterfinal match of the AFC Cup here at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Tuesday and progressed to the quarterfinals of the continental club competition.

Tampine Rovers went into lead early in the second half off its Canadian winger Jordan Webb before Mohun Bagan found the equalizer through Bikramjit Singh midway. Afiq Yunos found the winner three minutes before the end of the extra-time to help the visitor book a berth in the next round. The match was locked 1-1 after the regulation 90 minutes which forced 30 minutes of extra-time.

Rovers was reduced to 10 men in the 53rd minute when its defender Shakir Hamzah was given marching order after collecting the second booking of the match. Playing with greater purpose, Rover found the lead in the 62nd minute as Webb was rewarded for a grave miscalculation by the Bagan goalkeeper Arnab Das Sarma.

The Canadian delivered a deep cross from the flank and the ball swerved over an off-positioned Arnab to find the net. Mohun Bagan found the equalizer nine minutes later when Bikramjit Singh finished a brilliant long-ranger past the seasoned Tampines custodian Izwan Mahbud. The action rolled into the extra-time as both sides held on to the deadlocked scoreline.

Afiq Yunos went up from his position in the central defence to find the net decisively for the visitor in 117th minute. Yunos finished with a fine angular shot meeting a low free-kick which found him unmarked inside the Bagan box.

Mohun Bagan made five changes in the team that won the Fedreation Cup title at the same venue couple of days ago. The decision was prompted by injuries to three players – midfielders Japanese Katsumi Yusa and Pronoy Halder and defender Pritam Kotal – and the return of Haitian Sony Norde on national duty.

The fifth change was in the form of goalkeeper Debjit Majumdar who was rested while the greater part of the team got overhauled when Trinidad and Tobago striker Cornell Glen limped off the filed in the 39th minute to be replaced by Subash Singh. This reduced Mohun Bagan to only one foreigner in the Brazilian defender Luciano Sabrosa, who played a key role in keeping the backline intact for the host.

Mohun Bagan took time initially trying to settle down to a new combination as Rovers build up attacks along the flanks using the two imports Webb and Englishman Jarmaine Pennant. The visitor pressed for an early break and in the process earned two free-kicks outside the Bagan box and a corner in the first quarter of the action. Pennant, the former Arsenal and Liverpool winger, almost got one of the free-kicks home but for a smart dive from the Bagan custodian Arnab, who flew out to foist the curving shot from the Englishman.

Pennant, who took greater work-load in the centre for Rovers, set up Fazrul Nawaz with a cross. The striker failed to compliment the nice assist sending the ball over the crosspiece. Next it was a open chance for Webb to shoot wide of an open goal in the 44th minute.

The result: Mohun Bagan 1 (Bikramjit Singh 71) lost to Tampines Rovers 2 (Jordan Webb 62, Afiq Yunos 117).

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