AFC Cup: Odisha FC stage epic comeback; Mohun Bagan SG face defeat
The Juggernauts secured their second win; while Mohun Bagan SG suffered their first defeat in the AFC Cup.
Odisha FC staged a remarkable comeback after falling behind by two goals in the opening half to beat Maldives' Maziya Sports & Recreation 3-2 in their Group D away match of the AFC Cup at the Maldives National Stadium on Tuesday.
Entering this must-win game to keep their hopes alive for advancing to the next round, the Juggernauts conceded two early goals, with Naiz Hassan (2’) and Vojislav Balabanovic (26’) scoring for the hosts. However, Sergio Lobera's side didn't back down and fought back in the second half to secure all three points, with Mourtada Fall (65’), Diego Mauricio (72’), and Roy Krishna (85’) all finding their name on the scoresheet.
The hosts began the game aggressively and quickly found the back of the net. The Odisha FC defence momentarily stood still as Naiz Hassan capitalized on the opportunity to put the hosts ahead. The home side applied more pressure and was awarded a penalty in the middle of the first half following a reckless challenge from Fall. Serbian forward Balabanovic made no mistake from the spot to double their lead.
The Maziya defence resisted Odisha FC's attacks for the remainder of the first half and the opening quarter of the second half. However, the Juggernauts regained their momentum with Fall finding the back of the net from an Ahmed Jahouh corner. Seven minutes later, Brazilian forward Mauricio headed home the equalizer from another Jahouh set-piece.
The Indian Super League (ISL) side continued to apply more pressure in the remaining minutes of the second half and rightfully found the winner through Roy Krishna, as the Fijian dribbled past one defender to complete the comeback for Odisha FC.
Odisha FC now sit in third place in the table with six points, while Maziya is in fourth with three points.
Mohun Bagan Super Giant succumb to a 2-1 loss against Bashundhara Kings
Mohun Bagan Super Giant suffered their first defeat in the AFC Cup as they went down 2-1 against Bashundhara Kings at the Bashundhara Kings Arena in Dhaka on Tuesday.
The Mariners took the lead in the opening half with Liston Colaco's goal in the 17th minute, but the hosts equalized just before the end of the first half when Miguel Figueira scored a brilliant goal in the 44th minute. Robinho secured the winning goal for the home side in the 80th minute, adding excitement to the group table.
The game started with both sides testing each other's defences in the early minutes. In the 17th minute, the Kings' goalkeeper failed to catch Jason Cummings' cross, and Colaco made a sweet connection on the rebound to put the visitors ahead.
Minutes later, Dorielton Nascimento had a great opportunity to level the score, but the Brazilian ballooned his effort from inside the box. Mohun Bagan SG continued to break the opposition's defence on the counter-attack, and in the 34th minute, the Kings' keeper made a terrific double save to keep his team in the game.
As the first half was coming to an end, Kings looked more desperate, and in the 44th minute, Didier set up Figueira, who rattled the net with a superb strike on a half-turn. The home side dominated the entire second half, launching a string of attacks.
At the hour mark, Robinho burst through the MBSG defence and played it forward for winger Rakib Hossain, who drew a save from Vishal Kaith with his effort. Bashundhara Kings intensified their attacking strength as the game progressed in the second half, and in the 80th minute, Dorielton laid off for Robinho, who calmly placed the ball in the back of the net to secure three crucial points for his side.
Both Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Bashundhara Kings now have seven points from four games.
The Mariners will now take on Odisha FC in their penultimate AFC Cup 2023-24 Group D match at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on November 27, while Bashundhara Kings face Maldives’ Maziya S & RC.