Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.


AFC Cup 2023-24: Mohun Bagan takes on Abahani Dhaka in 'do-or-die' playoff clash

The winner of this match will advance to the main draw of the AFC Cup, the second tier of Asia's club football league.

AFC Cup 2023-24: Mohun Bagan takes on Abahani Dhaka in do-or-die playoff clash

Mohun Bagan Super Giant has been slotted in Group D of the AFC 2023-34 on August 24, 2023. 


Sudipta Biswas

Updated: 22 Aug 2023 1:21 PM GMT

Kolkata: Mohun Bagan Super Giant takes on Abahani Dhaka in a do-or-die AFC Cup 2023-2024 playoff at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, better known as Salt Lake Stadium, on Tuesday, in Kolkata.

The winner of this match will advance to the main draw of the AFC Cup, the second tier of Asia's club football league.

In the preliminary round, Mohun Bagan delivered a clinical performance, beating Nepal's Machhindra FC 3-1 in a show of absolute domination by Juan Ferrando's boys.

Abahani Dhaka, on the other hand, defeated Club Eagles from the Maldives 2-1 in Sylhet, Bangladesh, to set up the playoff clash with Mohun Bagan.

On the eve of the match, the Bangladeshi club's Portuguese coach, Mario Lemos, sent a message that resonated quite well with the sentiment around the game.

'Park the bus'

“I do not like to use this term out of context, but my boys are ready to die for the team tomorrow,” Lemos declared.

The 37-year-old coach also made his strategy clear by stating that his team would try to 'park the bus' while attempting for goals from counterattacks.

“Mohun Bagan are a good side," Lemos admitted, adding, "But we will be balancing between parking the bus and building our own attacks. The team need to put in maximum effort, maintain balance and discipline. We need to push their players to positions where they are not as comfortable on the pitch."

Abahani defender Rahmat Mia, who addressed the media along with Lemos, also said that the team would vie for a win, irrespective of the quality of the game.

“Mohun Bagan are a very good team and we respect them, but if they play well and we win at the end, we will take that,” said Mia.

Ferrando wary of Abahani

Ferrando admitted that "it will not be easy" for Mohun Bagan since Abahani Dhaka has been in fine form.

“They (Abahani Dhaka) have a good team with good players in their squad, so it will not be easy for us tomorrow. Both teams want the same target, the same goal, and the key for us will be to maintain focus for 90 minutes and beyond,” said Ferrando at the press conference on Monday.

However, it will not be easy for Abahani to counter Mohun Bagan in its own den, with a capacity crowd thronging the ground to cheer for the players, who are confident after their return to win against Machhindra FC following a shocking defeat to East Bengal in the Durand Cup.

Moreover, Abahani did not have a good run in domestic football in Bangladesh. It secured an AFC Cup preliminary berth after Dhaka Mohammedan Sporting, the winner of the Federation Cup, failed to meet AFC's club license criteria. Dhaka Abahani was the runner-up in the tournament.

In their last meeting, exactly at the same stage of the AFC Cup, the Mariners defeated also Abahani 3-1.

However, as the clubs are allowed to register six foreign players in their squads in the AFC Cup, and both sides have quality overseas players at their disposal, the result of the match could well depend on how they combine with the homegrown players.

Players to watch out for:

Jason Cummings

After a poor outing against East Bengal, Cummings fully bloomed against Machhindra FC, scoring Mohun Bagan's second goal in a 3-1 win. His ability to burst into the box and beat defenders with dodges may come in handy on Tuesday.

Anwar Ali

The hero of Mohun Bagan's win against Machhindra with two goals, defender Anwar Ali will be in the spotlight again on Tuesday. His towering presence in the defence and swift transition to the opposition box to score goals from set pieces impressed one and all.

Cornelius Stewart

A 33-year-old footballer from the Caribbean, Stewart is an experienced professional. He has played in Canada and Bangladesh. Stewart had signed with Minerva Punjab but did not turn up in any matches.

Stewart, who has signed with Abahani from Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi, scored a goal against the Eagles in the last match.


Mainly a defender, the 29-year-old Danilo Agusto from Brazil joined Abahani from the local side Fortis FC on loan. His presence solidified Abahani's defence and gave the club an impetus in the attacking third. Danilo, who scored five goals in the league, snatched the winner for Abahani against the Eagles.

Predicted XI:

Mohun Bagan: Vishal Kaith (Goalkeeper), Subhasish Bose, Brendan Hamill, Anwar Ali, Asish Rai, Anirudh Thapa, Glan Martins, Sahal Abdul Samad, Hugo Boumous, Jason Cummings, Liston Colaco

Abahani Dhaka: Mahfuz Hasan (Goalkeeper), Rahmat Mia, Ridoy, Ezekiel, Muzaffarjon, Foysal Ahmed Sahim, Danilo Agusto, Ojukwu, Masur Rana, Cornelius Stewart, Soleimani

Where to watch the Mohun Bagan vs Abahani Dhaka AFC Cup playoff live on Tuesday?

The AFC Cup playoff match between Mohun Bagan and Abahani Dhaka will be streamed live on Mohun Bagan Super Giant’s official Facebook page. The match starts on Tuesday, August 22, at 7 pm IST at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata. There will be no live telecast for this match in India.

Next Story