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Rediff.com  » Sports » AFC Cup: Bagan draw with Yangon, on verge of knockout round berth

AFC Cup: Bagan draw with Yangon, on verge of knockout round berth

April 13, 2016 20:42 IST

Top Indian side Mohun Bagan played out a 1-1 draw against Yangon United in their away match to put themselves on the verge of booking a historic knockout berth in the AFC Cup football tournament in Yangon on Wednesday.

Mohun Bagan players at a training sessionTrinidadian striker Glen Cornell scored the equalising goal in the 41st minute after Brazilian forward Adilson Dos Santos had put Yangon in front in the 25th minute at the Youth Training Centre.

Myanmar National League champions Yangon United thus ended Mohun Bagan's AFC Cup winning streak of three games, including the Indian side's 3-2 victory over the same opponents in the first leg match in Guwahati last month.

Nonetheless, it was a creditable show for Sanjoy Sen's boys to come out unscathed in an away match, more so after four winless matches in the domestic I-League which saw their chances of retaining the title fade away.

A win would have secured a knockout round spot for Mohun Bagan but they still have to reach the Round of 16 with 10 points from four matches to remain on top in Group G. They need a win from their two remaining group matches – against Maziya and Recreation of Maldives in Male on April 27 and against South China of Hong Kong in Guwahati on May 11.

Yangon are on five points from four matches.

The table toppers and second-place teams of each of the eight groups will qualify for the Round of 16 in the continent's second tier club competition.

Mohun Bagan have never qualified for the knockout round of the AFC Cup, having exited at the group stage in 2007 and 2009.

While Mohun Bagan had the lion's share of possession in the opening period of the game, it was the hosts who took the lead midway through the first half.

After superb interplay with teammate Kyaw Ko Ko just inside the box, 29-year-old striker Adilson steered home a left-footed effort past the diving Arnab Sharma in the Mohun Bagan goal.

Despite falling behind, Mohun Bagan forwards Glen and Subash Singh made life difficult for the Yangon defence and an equaliser four minutes before half-time came courtesy of the former as the Trinidadian latched onto an incisive through ball from Lenny Rodrigues to tap home the ball beyond Yangon keeper Luiz Fernando.

After the restart, it was Yangon who upped the tempo and forced the visitors to defend deep into their own half as the game's momentum swung their way.

And the pressure almost paid off immediately as Mohun Bagan defender Raju Gaikwad went close to scoring an own-goal, before Kyaw Ko Ko let two chances to retake the lead slip in quick succession as he was twice denied by the resolute Arnab.

In the 86th minute, though, the away side did have a glorious chance to snatch all three points at the death as Luciano Sobrosa ventured forward to get on the end of captain Katsumi Yusa's cross into the box, but his effort sailed over the bar.

Despite the chances at either end in the second half, neither side could break the deadlock.

Image: Mohun Bagan players at a training session

Photograph: Facebook

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