AFC Cup: Liston Colaco nets hat-trick as ATK Mohun Bagan thump Bashundhara Kings to revive qualification hopes

ATK Mohun Bagan handsomely bounced back from the defeat at the hands of Gokulam Kerala with a 4-0 victory over Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings in the Group D match of the AFC Cup at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on Saturday.

Heavy rain in Kolkata stopped play for a while in the first half after which the Mariners ran the show to come out comfortable winners from the contest and keep their hopes of making the next round alive.

A Liston Colaco hat-trick (24’, 33’, 53’) put ATK Mohun Bagan in the driver’s seat before a David Williams strike (77’) put the seal on an emphatic victory.

Carl McHugh, Sandesh Jhingan were included in the starting XI by Juan Ferrando as Arsh Shaikh replaced Amrinder Singh in goal for Kolkata-based team.

ATK Mohun Bagan started the game on the front foot but their positive start was cut short by heavy rains as the game had to be stopped after the 10-minute mark.

The Mariners took a while to get going after the game resumed post the short interval and had to thank Shaikh to keep them level as he produced a fingertip save in the 20th minute to deny Bashundhara Kings the opener.

Four minutes later, Colaco capitalised in a lapse in concentration from Bishwanath Ghosh to coolly slot past the Bashundhara Kings goalkeeper and put ATK Mohun Bagan in front.

The goal settled the Mariners’ nerves who took control of proceedings. In the 33rd minute, ATK Mohun Bagan doubled their lead and once again it was Colaco who found the back of the net after being played in on goal by Kauko.

Ferrando’s men remained on the front foot for most of the first half but couldn’t add to their two-goal lead at the interval.

Bashundhara Kings were then punished for another costly mistake in the 53rd minute when Manvir Singh set up Colaco for his hat-trick who made it 3-0.

Ferrando brought on David Williams and Ravi Rana in the 70th minute of the match and the subtitutions made an instant impact as Williams added a fourth goal for ATK Mohun Bagan seven minutes later.

The Mariners had more chances to add to their goal tally but couldn’t keep their composure in front of goal. Williams tried to curl one in in stoppage time but his effort sailed over the post.

The referee blew for full-time to signal the victory for ATK Mohun Bagan who have now given themselves a chance of making the next round.

The Mariners now face Maziya S&RC in their final group match on Tuesday. The fate of their qualification though rests on Gokulam Kerala’s results who can secure qualification by winning their remaining two matches.

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