Abahani again fall short against Mohun Bagan

An action of the Mohun Bagan-Abahani clash in the AFC Cup South Zone playoff match held at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on 22 August 2023Mohun Bagan Facebook page

Coming from behind, Mohun Bagan came from behind to hand Bangladesh’s Abahani Limited a 3-1 defeat in the South Zone playoff match of the AFC Cup at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday, reports news agency UNB.

This was the third time Abahani has lost to Mohun Bagan by 3-1 in Kolkata. They earlier lost by the same margin against the Indian opponents in 2017 and 2022.

The only time these two teams faced off in Dhaka, in 2017, the match had ended 1-1.

With the day’s feat, Mohun Bagan has qualified for the group stage of the AFC Cup while six times Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) champions Abahani have been eliminated from the competition.

The main phase of the AFC Cup Football will be held on 24 August.

On Tuesday, Abahani and Mohun Bagan were locked up 1-1 after the first half.

Grenadian winger Cornelius Ezekiel Stewart, who had scored against Club Eagles of the Maldives in the AFC Cup preliminary round last week, put Dhaka Abahani ahead in the 17th minute with a cool placing shot from close range, utilising the lapse in concentration from the opponent keeper Vishal Kaith.

But, Australian forward Jason Cummings restored the parity for Mohun Bagan in the 37th minute from the penalty spot. The Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan got the spot kick when Abahani defender Sushanto Tripura brought down Liston Colaco.

Mohun Bagan took lead in the 58th minute courtesy of an own goal from Abahani’s Milad Sheikh.

Armand Sadiko scored the 3rd goal for Mohun Bagan just two minutes later off a corner kick.

Now, reigning BPL champions Bashundhara Kings are the only club from Bangladesh in the AFC Cup, the second tier Asian club competition.

Earlier in the preliminary round, Dhaka Abahani advanced to the play-off stage by eliminating Club Eagles of the Maldives, beating them 2-1 at the Sylhet District Stadium on 16 August.

On the same day, Mohun Club eliminated Machhindra FC of Kathmandu by beating them by 3-1 goals at the Kolkata Salt Lake Stadium to qualify for the playoff.

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