Mohun Bagan scored a late equaliser to grab a vital point against Maziya Sports and Recreation on Wednesday in Group G of the AFC Cup.
Assadhulla Abdulla gave Maziya the lead in the 65th minute and it looked for all money that they had wrapped up all three points, however, it was not to be as Jeje Lalpekhlua continued his fine form in Asia and netted in the 94th minute for Mohun Bagan to ensure that the game finished 1-1.
Congratulations to the entire team for being the Group Champion of the @AFCCup ! Proud of you boys!
— Mohun Bagan A.C. (@MohunBagan) April 27, 2016
The result sees Mohun Bagan assured of finishing top in the group as they currently have 11 points while Maziya drop to fourth with five points. After a 2-1 win over Yangon United, South China are second with six points. Yangon United are third with five points.
After a relatively queit first-half that saw half-chances fall to Ahmed Imaaz, Pronoy Halder and Lalpekhlua the teams went into the break at 0-0.
The game sprung to life in the second half and the deadlock was broken in the 65th minute when the home side went in front, as Abdulla’s ambitious shot from 15 yards deflected off Sanjay Balmuchu on route to finding the back of the net. Goalkeeper Arnab Dan Sarma could do little to prevent the goal as he was wrong footed.
Mohun Bagan then dominated the remainder of the game and they were finally rewarded for their efforts deep into stoppage time when a majestic cross from Prabir Das was met by a well-timed diving header from Lalpekhlua that found the bottom right corner. The goal was his sixth of the compeition.
Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen admitted that the performance was not his side’s best, but explained that he was satisfied with the final result as it meant that his team had won the group.
“Our boys tried until the last minute and we managed to score in the last minute; we are top of the group and that was our primary target,” Sen said.
“The first half was not good for both teams and the second half was okay. But this is my first AFC Cup and I’m happy so far with the results in the tournament.”
On the contrary, Maziya coach Ali Suzain was furious at his team’s inability to close out the game and condemned their lack of focus in the final quarter of the 90 minutes.
“We had many goal-scoring opportunities and managed to score just one,” Suzain said.
“Our goalkeeper’s involvement was important in getting us a point, but if the players had really focused on the match we would have got all three.”