Courtesy : MBSG Media

The AFC Cup encounter between Mohun Bagan and Maziya S&RC on 2nd of October 2023 at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangyan in Kolkata ended 2-1 in favour of Mohun Bagan courtesy of goals from Jason ‘Joker’ Cummings which keeps Mohun Bagan at the top of the South Zone group with a goal difference of +5 , while Tomoki Wada was the sole scorer for Maziya who just scored in the ending minutes of the first half regulation time.

The match started with Mohun Bagan entering the field as the clear cut favourites having won the previous match against Odisha FC , 4-0 away from home . Juan Ferrando, with clear intention of going all out attack for crushing Maziya and increasing the goal difference in Bagan`s favour started with all of his foreign players in the starting 11 , While Kaith , Anwar, Ashish, Liston and Glan started among the Indians with star players like Subhashis, Thapa, Sahal, Manvir all left on the Bench. 

Maziya on the other hand might be termed as underdogs but having defeated Bashundhara kings at home , they were full of confidence and were all set for giving another upset . Maziya started with 5 foreign players in the starting 11 , where there was the biggest surprise of the day , Maziya`s star midfielder Vojislav Balabanovic was left on the bench . Mohun Bagan started attacking as usual along the wings with Ashis Rai and Liston occupying right and left flanks respectively. But maziya head coach Milomir Seslija had already seen the pattern and closed all paths to allow mohun bagan operate freely from flanks and forcing them to take a more central approach. Maziya mostly focused on scoring on counter attacks and keeping mohun bagan full backs busy by pinning them in their own half. Bagan created a few chances but failed to capitalise on them , Maziya for the first 20 minutes were mainly focused on containing the Bagan attacks , it took them 21 minutes to make their first meaningful move and were almost rewarded due to misunderstanding between Hamill and vishal where Hamill`s back pass just went slightly away from goal past vishal`s outstretched hands . In the 28th minute Bagan got their first breakthrough when Boumous sprinted down the middle channel dribbling past 3 players to find Cummings on the edge of the box , who faked past Antic to place the ball in the far bottom corner with a perfect diagonal shot  to beat maziya goalkeeper Hussain Shareef . Next 12 minutes saw both teams trying to control the match but neither able to take control. In the 40th minute Sadiku ran down the left flank to receive a long ball from petratos , it was then he was fouled inside the box and Bagan were awarded a penalty . Cummings stepped for the penalty but tried to do it messi-esque by trying to roll the ball slightly in petratos` path , but the ever alert Antic was there to deny Bagan . 4 minutes from the incident Maziya`s Ghanaian midfielder Obeng Regan found Tomoki Wada with a precise pass only for the later to deliver a pitch at the top right  corner, just at the end of Regulation time to restore parity . The first half ended 1-1.

The second half finished in a similar fashion , with Bagan dominating the proceedings . Manvir Singh was thrown into the mix at the 52nd minute to bring more fire into the attack . Though Bagan were creating many openings , they failed to capitalise on them. Maziya were almost successful in reverting all Bagan attacks as well as also launching some attacks of their own which they didn`t capitalise. Juan then introduced Subhashis Bose and Sahal into the mix to create more chances , later Thapa also entered but it took Long 45 minutes plus 3 additional minutes into the second half to find the winner , where Sahal Abdul Samad found a precise pass to find Jason inside the box who smashed the ball under the goalkeeper`s feet to seal the win for Mohun Bagan . Maziya and their goalkeeper Hussain Shareef were very top notch today but not enough to contain Mohun Bagan . 

With this win , Bagan`s focus shifts to next match in ISL on 7th October against Chennaiyin FC away from home . Mohun Bagan will play their next match in AFC Cup against Bashundhara Kings at home on 24th of October.

MBFT Player Ratings :-

Vishal Kaith -  6 /10

Vishal didn`t had much to do today but was at the end of silly misunderstanding with Hamill which could have led to goal . He couldn`t have done anything for Maziya`s goal.

Anwar Ali -  6 /10

Had a relatively quite evening compared to his ability. was taken out for Subhashis Bose at the 64th minute mark.

Hector Yuste -   7 /10

Maintained a sturdy defensive line along with Anwar and Hamill . Was responsible for Maziya`s goal in allowing free space down the middle. Picked up a silly yellow card which might rule him out of the next match against Bashundhara Kings.  

Brendan Hamill -   7 /10

Maintained solidity in his side , covered well for others and moved up the ball efficiently. Most active of the 3 defenders in the field.

Ashis Rai -  6 /10

Had  a relatively frustrating evening as he could not do much up his side , later substituted in the 2nd half.

Glan Martins -   6 /10

Had a great match today in breaking down all Maziya attacks down the middle , was partially responsible for Maziya`s goal in allowing free space.

Hugo Boumous -  6 /10

Was the architect in chief of every moves Bagan made today , got the assist for 1st goal .

Liston Colaco -   7 /10

Had a great shift today up and down the pitch , troubled the defenders and make his impact felt all throughout the match.

Armando Sadiku -   7 /10

Had a great game today , worked hard in dragging defenders out of place . Earned the penalty which cummings failed to convert.

Dimitrios Petratos -   6 /10

Had a rather frustrating evening , couldn`t do anything meaningful during his stay on the field . Substituted in the 2nd half for Sahal.

Jason Cummings -   8 /10

Had a blast of a performance , scored both goals including a injury time winner . Had he converted the penalty ,would have completed his Hat-trick in his 2nd ever performance in AFC Cup.


Substitutes :-

Manvir Singh -  6 /10

Came on in place of Ashis Rai and impacted the game very well , creating chances from the right flank .

Sahal Abdul Samad -  8 /10

Came on in place of Petratos and impacted the game by assisting the winner and winning fouls in important places.

Anirudh Thapa -  7 /10

Came in for Glan , controlled the midfield after coming on , Boumous, Thapa and Sahal , the trio combined to take control of midfield.

Subhashis Bose -   7 /10

Came in for Anwar and added steel and solidity to the Defense line , moved forward the ball well.

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