AFC Cup: Mohun Bagan qualify for knockout stages with draw against Yangon United
Mohun Bagan drew with Myanmar side Yangon United in the fourth Group G encounter on the AFC Cup, thus qualifying for the knockout stages after taking their tally to 10 points. The hosts took the lead midway through the first half courtesy of Adilson’s strike, though Cornell Glen equalized for the Mariners late in the first half to ensure the game ended 1-1.
Yangon United XI: Luiz Fernando(GK); Zaw Min Tun, Kunihiro, Khin Maung Lwin(C), Phyo Aung; David Htan, Aung Kyaw; Kyi Lin, Adilson, Kyaw Ko Ko; Marcelo Fernandes.
With Sony Norde injured, Mohun Bagan had a big absence on the forward lines down the wings, but Sanjoy Sen opted to replace him with Subash Singh.
Mohun Bagan XI: Arnab Das Sarma(GK)(C); Pritam Kotal, Raju Gaikwad, Luciano Sobrosa, Dhanachandra Singh; Pronay Halder, Lenny Rodrigues, Katsumi Yusa; Subash Singh, Cornell Glen, Jeje Lalpekhlua.
The hosts started the brighter of the two sides as Kyaw Ko Ko sent in a delicious free-kick that Yangon striker Adilson connected with, but his header flew inches wide of the far post. Mohun Bagan seemd to be awoken from their slumber after conceding that chance, as Glen bamboozled two opposing defenders by cutting inside from the left wing and let fly with his weaker foot, but his shot narrowly flashed across goal.
The two sides traded chances as the half wore on, with Adilson troubling the Bagan defence with a jinking run but saw his shot fly over. However, the Brazilian was far more clinical in the 26th minute. as he gave Yangon the lead, after a give-and-go with Ko Ko left him with space in the box, and he lashed the ball across goal with his left foot into the bottom right corner.
With the temperatures reaching a scorching 38 degrees, the referee called for a drinks break on the hour mark. As the game resumed, Ko Ko and Adilson continued to trouble the Mariners, with Ko Ko nearly scoring in the 40th minute after beating Raju Gaikwad for pace and watching his effort cannon off the post and into debutant Bagan keeper Arnab Das Sarma’s hands.
Yangon came to regret that piece of misfortune, as Bagan scored immediately after. Lenny Rodrigues spied Cornell Glen making a run and played in a peach of a ball from the halfway line, which bisected two defenders and found Glen clean through on goal. The Bagan striker struck a composed left footed finish past Fernando equalize for Bagan in the 42nd minute.
The second half started in rather muted fashion as both sides seemed fatigued from the heat. The opening 10 minutes of the second half passed without comment, although Jeje Lalpekhlua earned a yellow card for a rather foolish high boot.
Das Sarma had to be at his best to thwart David Htan on the 55th minute, as the Bagan keeper palmed away the Yangon player’s shot. The hosts began to press home their dominance, with Luciano Sobrosa having to be at his defensive best to snip a few Yangon attacks in the bud.
Katsumi was the first to really threaten for Bagan in the second half, as he connected from a free-kick, but Yangon responded immediately as Ko Ko caused some consternation for Das Sarma with a powerful shot that the keeper could only parry and then panic to clear the ball for a corner in the 67th minute.
Mohun Bagan began to tire under the sweltering heat, with Pronay Halder going down in the middle for cramps with 15 minutes to go. Das Sarma almost made a mess of Bagan’s hard work in the 80th minute, picking up a backpass in the box to concede an indirect free-kick, but Yangon wasted the chance, with Adilson’s shot being deflected out for a corner.
The hosts put the Mariners under pressure as the game came to an end, but Bagan held on for the point they need to qualify, although it was the first time they dropped points in Asia this season.