AFC Cup: ATK Mohun Bagan through to inter-zonal semis; Gokulam Kerala loses to Basundhara Kings

ATK Mohun Bagan made it to the inter-zonal semifinals of the AFC Cup by dominating Maziya S&RC 5-2 in the final round action of the group D league, at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday.

Joni Kauko scored two goals for ATK Mohun Bagan as the Mariners beat Maziya 5-2 in the AFC Cup. (File Photo)   -  FOCUS SPORTS / ISL

ATK Mohun Bagan made it to the inter-zonal semifinals of the AFC Cup by dominating Maziya S&RC 5-2 in the final round action of the group D league, at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday.

Joni Kauko scored twice while Roy Krishna, Subhasish Bose and Carl McHugh struck once each to complete an impressive scoreline for ATKMB. Pedro Placeres struck twice to save Maziya from a complete washout.

The final group league standings saw ATK Mohun Bagan and Bashundhara Kingsof Bangladesh tying on top with six points each from two wins but the former confirmed the top spot for having a better head-to-head record.

ATK Mohun Bagan’s chances brightened after Bashundhara beat Gokulam Kerala FC, which had a better head-to-head record with the local giant, 2-1 earlier in the day.

Having beaten Bashundhara 4-0 in the second round, ATKMB secured the opportunity with the emphatic win in the final round. This will be the second successive occasion ATK Mohun Bagan will be playing the inter-zonal semifinals, which is scheduled to be held in September.

Mohun Bagan enjoyed a 2-1 lead at the half-time with Kauko finding the target twice. It gained the lead off a goalkeeping error in the 27th minute when the Maziya custodian Kiran Limboo jumbled up a return pass following the goal-kick from his defensive colleague Hassan Shifaz and sent the ball straight to the ATKMB midfielder Kauko lurking near his own box.

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The Finland international accepted the gift with gratitude and dispatched the ball in the corner of the Maziya net. Kauko doubled the lead in the 37th minute latching on to a Manvir Singh assist before Pedro reduced the margin off a fast counter-attack in the 45th minute (2-1).

Mohun Bagan produced three more goals after the break with Krishna, Subhasish and McHugh finding the net in the 56th, 58th and 71st minutes respectively to make the win memorable.

Pedro nodded one more for Maziya in the 73rd minute to endow some respectability to its defeat.

Gokulam Kerala loses to Bashundhara Kings to end campaign

Reigning I-League champion Gokulam Kerala suffered a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Bangladesh's Bashundhara Kings on Tuesday.

Captain Robinho was outstanding for the Bangladeshi champions, scoring one brilliant goal and setting up another.

The Brazilian was virtually a one-man attack for Bashundhara at times, and the only surprise when he opened the scoring on 36 minutes was the brilliance of the strike, as he tricked his way past a pair of defenders before curling in a sensational 20-yard effort, which will surely rank among the goals of the tournament at season's end.

The results:

Maziya S&RC 2 (Pedro Placeres 45, 73) lost to ATK Mohun Bagan 5 (Joni Kauko 27, 37, Roy Krishna 56, Subhasish Bose 58, Carl McHugh 71).

Gokulam Kerala 1 (Jourdaine Fletcher 75') lost to Bashundhara Kings (Robinho 36', Nuha Marong 54')

 

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