Odisha FC beat Bangladesh’s Basundhara Kings 1-0 riding on Mourtada Fall’s 61st strike to qualify for the AFC Cup knock-out for the first time while two-time inter-zonal semifinalists Mohun Bagan went down to Maziya Sports & Recreation of Maldives to exit from the group league stage.
Odisha FC, after finishing on top in the group stage, has qualified for the zonal play-off semifinal, winning which will make it play in the zonal final.
In the 61st minute, Mourtada secured the crucial lead for the Kalinga Warriors with a decisive header.
Earlier in Male, the Juan Ferrando-coached Mohun Bagan failed to make a comeback after a Hassan Raif stunner gave Maziya the breakthrough in the 40th minute and that goal proved to be the difference between the two teams.
Mohun Bagan finished their AFC Cup campaign in third place with seven points, while Maziya bowed out having collected six points from as many matches.
The Indian heavyweights were unlucky as Taison Singh’s powerful 50th minute strike from outside the box rattled the underside of the crossbar and bounced across the goal before Maziya custodian Hussain Shareef pounced on it.
In the 66th minute, Maziya right-back Hussain Sifaau’s shot from distance missed the Bagan goal by inches after taking a slight deflection on its way.
Substitute Hamza Mohamed’s shot from a tight angle was blocked by Bagan goalkeeper Shaikh four minutes later.
Hamza Mohamed hit the woodwork and Hassan Nazeem tested Shaikh with an acrobatic effort in the second-half injury time, but the one goal proved to be enough for the Maldives side to record their second win in the group stage.
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