Maziya Sports and Recreation Club took another step towards qualifying for the 2017 AFC Cup knockout stage with a 5-2 victory over Mohun Bagan A.C. on Wednesday.
- Maziya 5 Mohun Bagan 2
- Habeeb on target on 13'
- Umair adds a second on 27
- Rakic scores with 45' played
- Debnath reduces the deficit on 48'
- Asadhulla scores from the spot on 54'
- Rakic adds a fifth on 60'
- Lalpekhlua scores 78' penalty
Yasfaadh Habeeb opened the scoring early on in this Group E encounter for Maziya at the National Stadium in Male in the Maldives before Mohamed Umair doubled his side's lead.
Aleksandar Rakic then added a third as the Dhivehi Premier League team looked to take complete control of this match, although Kingshuk Debnath had other ideas as he pulled a goal back for the I-League side.
Abdulla Asadhulla though added a fourth for the hosts ahead of a second for Rakic, while the lively Jeje Lalpekhlua finally got the goal his superb played deserved, when he netted with just over 10 minutes of the match to play.
The visitors had their opponents on the back foot from the off with a high tempo and some good early pressing.
And the first half chance of the tie fell to Mohun Bagan as Lalpekhlua picked up a pass from Raju Eknath Gaikwad before firing just wide of the target with barely four minutes played.
But it didn't take too long for the hosts to begin to assert their dominance as Asadhulla saw a good attempt blocked for Maziya, before taking the lead, on 13 minutes. Habeeb set himself well and smashed a left-footed shot from a central area into the roof of the net, leaving goalkeeper Pawan Kumar with no chance.
Pavel Matiash denied Lalpekhlua at the other end on 16 minutes, while the visitors continued to probe for an equaliser, with Lalpekhlua seeing a 23rd minute goal-bound header blocked.
But despite looking lively, Mohun Bagan conceded a second on 27 minutes as Umair found his range, with an excellent shot that found the back of the net.
Matiash then had to be alert to stop the lively Lalpekhlua from slotted home after picking up a Katsumi Yusa delivery, as Habeeb forced a good low save from Kumar with the half winding down.
But before they could head down the tunnel and regroup, The Mariners found themselves three goals down. Umair played the provider this time, as he set up Rakic to bury his effort in the bottom-left corner of the net.
What ever Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen said at the interval appeared to have worked as his side responded with a 48th minute goal.
Debnath was fed by Lalpekhlua following a corner and he was well placed to direct his shot out of reach of the goalkeeper.
But their joy was short-lived as Asadhulla regained his side's hefty advantage, from the penalty spot, with a confident drive into the bottom right corner of the net, with 54 minutes on the clock, after Kumar was adjudged to have fouled Umair in the box.
Normal service appeared to have resumed as The Green Boys netted a fifth on the hour mark; Rakic powering in his second with a superb effort from outside the box.
Bikramjit Singh came close with a 74th minute effort that flew just wide, while Robinson Singh had a fierce effort well saved a minute later as Mohun Bagan tried to get back into this match.
And they were ultimately rewarded with a penalty as Samaam Gasim handled in the box, leaving Lalpekhlua to score his side's second of the tie on 78 minutes.
The visitors refused to give up and Lalpekhlua rose well to connect to a Kean Lewis cross, but his header, that was arrowing to the top-left corner of the net, was well saved.
Souvik Chakraborty let rip with a superb shot from 35 yards out that flew inches wide, while it was Asadhulla with the final say with another fine effort that was stopped from heading into the bottom right corner of the net by a diving save from Kumar, who certainly had seen his fair share of action in a thoroughly entertaining AFC Cup encounter.
The result means the victors move onto nine points in Group E, level with leaders Bengaluru FC but with a slightly weaker goal difference. Mohun Bagan stay third, above Dhaka Abahani, on three points from four games.