After getting past Sri Lanka's Blue Star SC in the previous round of the play-offs, ATK Mohun Bagan defeated Bangladesh's Abahani Limited Dhaka 3-1 on Tuesday. This was their final play-off game. David Williams starred with a hat-trick for the Mariners.
Mario Lemos' side received a walkover against Club Valencia in their last match and a meeting with ATK Mohun Bagan became inevitable. Juan Ferrando's side had been without Liston Colaco, Amrinder Singh, and Roy Krishna in the previous fixture.
Even though Liston and Amrinder made it into the squad for the game against Abahani Limited, the Fijian ace was still absent.
The match kicked off with a partially-filled Yuva Bharati Krirangan urging the home team to take the fight to the Bangladeshi outfit.
The Mariners did not delay the joy of their fans as David Williams opened the scoring for the home team in the sixth minute.
Colaco spotted Joni Kauko making a run, breaking the offside trap. The India international eased it off to his Finnish colleague, who continued his run before whipping in a cross for the approaching David Williams.
The Australian striker had no trouble scoring past Mohammad Shahidul Alam Sohel, the Abahani Limited Dhaka goalkeeper.
The Sky Blue Brigade played well in patches. Their attack was mainly concentrated on the left flank, with Daniel Colindres pulling the strings. Former Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC midfielder Raphael Augusto played a pivotal role for Mario Lemos' side.
The Brazilian midfielder's strength and ball control awed many in the stands as he went shoulder-to-shoulder with ATK Mohun Bagan's Joni Kauko. Colaco was also seen pulling out a few tricks to trouble the Abahani Limited defenders.
However, it was ATK Mohun Bagan's right-back Prabir Das, who played an active role in the second goal. The wing-back ran down the flanks before delivering a cross that fell to David Williams, who scored his second goal of the encounter.
Abahani Limited Dhaka fall short of plans against ATK Mohun Bagan
The away side started the second half strongly. Mario Lemos' team scored a goal in the 61st minute.
On this occasion, the ball fell to Daniel Colindres, who took a touch to move outside, towards the flank to allow himself some space.
The ATK Mohun Bagan defenders retreated during this time but none could close down on Daniel, whose powerful shot went past Amrinder Singh. The goal changed the scheme of things for a brief period.
The Mariners could have put this game to bed long before Abahani Limited Dhaka scored. The Green and Maroon Brigade gave away 4-5 clean opportunities.
One of them fell to David Williams, who was set free by a Hugo Boumous defense-cutter. But the striker took a touch too heavy while beating the goalkeeper. This allowed the opposition defenders to get back to their positions.
Substitute Kiyan Nassiri created a chance for himself after coming on in place of Colaco. The youngster dribbled past the defenders on the left flank and wrong-footed the goalkeeper. But his shot was not on target.
David Williams had a similar opportunity to the one he missed earlier, in the dying moments of the game. This time, the Australian forward did his part right to beat the on-rushing goalkeeper and score into an empty goal. He thus secured his team's place in the group stage of the AFC Cup.