AFC Cup 2021: ATK Mohun Bagan come from behind to defeat Maziya S&RC
ATK Mohun Bagan showed once again exactly why they are the best Indian club on current form and potential as they came from 1-0 down to beat Maldives' Maziya S&RC 3-1 in the AFC Cup.
What promised to be a goal-fest didn't disappoint as ATK Mohun Bagan ran out 3-1 victors over Maziya S&RC in their second group game.
The Mariners' head coach Antonio Lopez Habas sprang a surprise when he benched Hugo Boumous and started Liston Colaco instead. It might have been a ploy to avoid a 'second yellow card in as many games' situation.
The rest of the team picked themselves. Like against Bengaluru FC, Roy Krishna spearheaded the attack alongside David Williams on the right and Liston on the left. ATK Mohun Bagan hit the ground running almost immediately to be fair, keeping possession comfortably and trying to create down the two flanks.
However, it was the team from Maldives who broke the deadlock against the run of play. A sweeping move down the right saw a grounded cross from striker Cornelius Stewart which was tapped in by Aisam Ibrahim (1-0).
The Green and Maroons responded well though. Young Liston was sprightly for a 5-minute spell soon after, hassling and harassing the Maziya defence with his persistence. He failed to get a shot away from a promising position, then hit a rasping free kick which was fisted away by the goalkeeper.
Although they looked the better team in the first period, Habas' men had found themelves a goal down at half-time, with a question mark on how to make Roy Krishna a bigger threat despite the strong marking on him.
The Kolkata club began the second half with a bang. Substitute Ashutosh Mehta, who came on for Sumit Rathi, swung in a cross which was met with perfectly by Liston with his head to equalise (1-1).
It was the perfect trigger for the side to kick on and start dominating possession again as they switched to a back-4 with consummate ease. The midfield and attack seemed to adjust perfectly to the change as both Ashutosh and Subhasish tried picking the forwards out with balls beyond the Maziya defence.
Hamza Mohammed managed a rare shot on target for Maziya but that went straight to Amrinder. However, soon after, the comeback was completed by the Mariners.
Boumous came on, immediately beat two defenders and played a fantastic through pass for Liston. His shot was saved by the goalkeeper but the loose ball was dispatched by a clinical Roy Krishna (1-2).
And the Boumous show was just getting started. This time he found Manvir with an inch perfect pass who then blasted it in from close range (1-3). The French-Moroccan was again at it when he was put through from the half line but was pulled back by a defender, who was lucky he got away with just a yellow card.
With this victory, ATK Mohun Bagan stay at the top of Group D and with their final match against Bashundhara Kings, a tantalising finish is on the cards in terms of moving ahead from the group.