Mohun Bagan Make AFC Cup Playoffs With 4-2 Win

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Kolkata: Mohun Bagan sailed into the playoff of the AFC Cup without barely having to move through the gears as they swept aside Colombo FC 2-1 (4-2 on aggregate) in a preliminary stage second leg tie here at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium on Tuesday.

Sony Norde (28th) and Darryl Duffy (56th) scored either side of half-time while substitute Balwant Singh saw his spot kick saved in the 76th minute. Colombo pulled one back in the 88th minute through Jean Yapo.

Mohun Bagan will now take on Club Valencia from the Maldives away on February 21 in the first leg followed by the second offing on February 28 for a place in the group stages.
It was good news for the tourists with all their three foreigners, who were facing visa issues ahead of the tie, cleared to come.

But despite fielding Afeez Olofin, Nasiru Opeyemi and Yapo in the starting XI, the Sri Lankan champions failed to create anything of note in the opening exchanges.

In the first quarter, Bagan looked off the boil and did not exert themselves enough with Colombo FC’s Olofin exploiting their chink in the armour in right-back Shouvik Chakbaborty.
In the 28th minute, the deadlock was broken. Katsumi played a pass to Duffy who relayed it to Norde whose first time shot beat visiting keeper Mohammed Imran who got his fingertips to the ball but could not keep it out.

Four minutes later, Duffy had a chance to double the tally and take the game further away from their rivals, but the Scottish striker side-volleyed wide from a Katsumi ball.

Colombo took until the 39th minute to fire their first shot on target when Mohammed Cassim’s first time attempt was lapped up by Shilton Paul under the home team’s bar.
One minute before half-time, Bikramjit Singh (Sr) wasted a gilt-edged opportunity off a Norde pass hitting the ball straight into the keeper’s body.

At half-time, Bagan led 1-0 in the second leg and 3-1 on aggregate.
In the second half, there was no change of script as Bagan extended their lead in the 56th minute.

Katsumi found Norde, who ran inside the box unchallenged down the left inside channel crossing for Duffy, who had the easiest of chances tapping the ball in.

With the job all but done at 4-1 aggregate, Norde was taken off to loud cheers from the motley crowd in the 62nd minute with Balwant Singh replacing the prolific Haitian.

Bagan could have compounded more misery on their hapless rivals when Afeel Mohamed handled the ball inside his own box. But keeper Imran saved diving to his right from Balwant’s take.