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Kings’ AFC knockout dream over

  • DM Simanto from Male
  • 24th August, 2021 07:44:26 PM
  • Print news

Bangladesh champions Bashundhara Kings’ AFC Cup dream shattered after ending their campaign in a 1-1 draw with ATK Mohun Bagan in the thrilling Inter-Zone semifinals decider of the last Group D match at National Stadium in Male, Maldives on Tuesday.

Brazilian playmaker Jonathan Fernandes took a 1-0 lead for Kings with a right-footer from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner; off a pass from his compatriot forward Robson Robinho in the 28th minute (1-0).

But Omani referee Qasim Matar Al Hatmi’s controversial marching order for defender Sushanto Tripura reduced Kings to 10-man just a few seconds before the half-time (45+3) minute that created a chance for Mohun Bagan to level the margin in the second half of the game.

However, Mohun Bagan made no mistake to seize the opportunity in the second half and their Australian forward David Williams equalised the scoreline with a right-footer from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal; off a pass by Liston Colaco in the 62nd minute (1-1) of the match.

After the day’s draw, Indian super league champions ATK Mohun Bagan emerged Group D champion to qualify for the next-month Inter-Zonal Semifinal of the AFC Cup. They secured seven points from all the three matches.

Meanwhile, Mohun Bagan are the first Indian side since JSW Bengaluru FC in 2018 to advance to the knockout stage.

On completion of the Maldives mission, Mohun Bagan will now face either FC Nasaf of Uzbekistan or FC Ahal of Turkmenistan in the Inter-Zone semi-finals on September 22.